This is the first novel ever published about a “lanza internacional”, as are called the famous Chilean pickpockets who travel around the world. The plot presents the “Flecha” (“the Arrow”) a young child with eyes of two different colors, born in a poor neighborhood in Santiago de Chile. From the age of 8-9, he uses to pick-up the necklaces from women in the street and run away. Later he starts disguising himself with elegant clothes to “work” in the rich sectors of the city. A journalist baptizes him as “Flecha” and he becomes a celebrity. As an adult he has some sexual encounters and he marries the widow of an assassinated drug dealer. Flecha travels to Europe and becomes a successful “lanza internacional”. In Paris, he shares his life with an African prostitute from Madagascar and he discovers that a Chilean police female is following him, and he has a one stand nigh with her. Together with Chilean exiles he takes part in the “Fête de l’Humanite”, organized by French communists, but as he is excluded from the group for being a “lanza” he steals a big amount of money from the cash depot, and returns to Chile. ||| Flecha (the “Arrow”), a “lanza internacional” (international pickpocket), is stopped by a police officer at the Chilean airport when he returns from France with his handbag full of euros. So begins the first novel ever published about the Chilean pickpockets, famous around the world. At the airport, Flecha remembers his childhood in Santa Estela, a poor Santiago neighborhood. From the age of 8 he used to run away with women’s necklaces, but soon he started disguising himself with fine clothes to “work” in the rich sectors of the city. A journalist baptized him as “Flecha” and he became somewhat of a celebrity. Santa Estela was bombed during the 1973 coup d’état, Flecha had his first sexual experiences and spent some time in a violent jail. He then travels to Paris where he meets a prostitute from Madagascar and has a romantic one-night stand with his enemy, a Chilean female police officer sent to capture him. Along with Chilean exiles, he takes part in the Communist “Fête de l’Humanité”, but as he is rejected for being a “lanza” he steals a large amount of money from the cash vault and returns to Chile. His fate will be decided at Santiago airport.
About the Author: Eduardo Labarca
Eduardo Labarca, Santiago, Chile, 1938, is an outstanding Chilean writer, journalist and filmmaker whose works are widely known in Chile, Spain and among Latinos around the world. After becoming a lawyer, he performed as a journalist in the Chilean and international media (written press, radio, television, movie newsreels), as panelist in the famous TV talk show “A esta hora se improvisa” and director of the documentary Chile: junio de 1973, winner of international awards. In exile, he became a translator for the United Nations in NY, Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna. His non-fiction book Chile invadido, 1968, was reviewed in the New York Times, and Chile al rojo, 1971, about the rise of Salvador Allende, is a classic. Novels: El turco Abdala y otras historias, 1988, three short novels about the Santiago nightlife; Butamalón, 1994, about the war between indigenous Mapuche and Spanish conquerors, praised by Isabel Allende and critics; Cadáver tuerto, 2005, focused on the tragic events under the Pinochet dictatorship (Chilean Best Novel Prize). His Salvador Allende. Biografía sentimental, 2005, is a monumental best-selling biographical essay. Lanza internacional, 2015, an exciting thriller, is the first novel ever published about “lanzas”, the amazing Chilean pickpockets who travel all around the world.
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