Manuel Pereira da Ponte Martins, beloved dictator of Teresina, in the Brazilian sert o, becomes agoraphobic the day a fortune-teller predicts he will die torn to pieces by an angry mob. From then on, his life turns out to be so unbearable that he decides to hire a double to replace him while he will be enjoying himself in Europe. A few years later, the barber turned dictator also grows tired of running the country and uses the same trick as his predecessor to leave for Hollywood. On the boat there, he introduces himself as Charlie Chaplin but everyone is convinced that he is none other than Rudolph Valentino disguised as Chaplin. When he arrives in New York, the two real actors are waiting for him Back in Teresina, the doubles follow one another, easily fooling the people until Pereira comes back. He is astonished to discover that his stand-in doesn t look like him at all and reacts in a way that can only precipitate his meeting with Fate. Pennac s new novel is witty, wildly original and extremely funny.
DANIEL PENNAC was born in Casablanca in 1944, his father being in the army. He travelled widely in his youth, in Europe, Asia and Africa, and has been employed in a number of capacities, including woodcutter, Paris cab driver, illustrator and schoolteacher. His 'Belleville Quintet', written round the character of Benjamin Malauss ne has been published in many languages.