Christof, Christophe, Christopher and Cristofol are four brothers - sons of the same father and four very different mothers, yet none of them knows of the others' existence.
They live in Frankfurt, Paris, London and Barcelona. Their father, Gabriel Delacruz - a truck driver - abandoned them when they were little and has never been heard from again.
Then one day, Cristofol is contacted by the police: his father is officially a missing person.
This fact leads him to discover that he has three half-brothers, and the four young men come together for the first time.
Two decades have passed since their father last saw any of them.
They barely remember what he was like, but they decide to look for him to resolve their doubts.
Why did he abandon them? Why do all four have the same name? Did he intend for them to meet? Divided by geography yet united by blood, the "Cristobales" set out on a quest that is at once painful, hilarious and extraordinary.
They discover a man who during thirty years of driving was able to escape the darkness of Franco's Spain and to explore a luminous Europe, a journey that, with the birth of his sons, both opened and broke his heart.
- Format: Paperback
- Publisher: Short Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 04/04/2013
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781780720449
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Review by gaskella
This is the story of Gabriel Delacruz, orphan, international furniture remover and father to four sons. Four boys – born in four different countries to four different mothers; one German, one English, one French and one Spanish, and all christened the local equivalent of the name Christopher. They are not aware of each other’s existence, and none of them have seen their father for a couple of decades.The ‘Four Christophers’ finally meet when the youngest, Cristòfol is contacted by the police when his father goes missing. He finds a piece of paper with the details of his brothers on. The Christophers meet to learn each others stories, and also to research their father – they don’t believe he’s dead.The brothers take their turns to tell their stories. How their mothers met Gabriel, their births, and those rare visits throughout their childhood. Although they are very different, they all get on well, making up for lost time. Their mothers were all independent women and despite the lack of a permanent father figure in their lives, they have made the most of things. They start meeting regularly to talk, and search out Gabriel’s friends and acquaintances to help fill in the gaps.Alongside Gabriel’s unfolding story was that of his fellow orphan and colleague Bundo. Together since their days in the ophanage, their undying friendship was the most touching part of this story. Whereas Gabriel had a woman in each port so to speak, there was only ever one girl for Bundo but he had to share her, for Carolina was a prostitute in a roadhouse outside Lyon.One of the naughty but interesting things that Gabriel and Bundo did together along with fellow removers was to always remove one random box from the contents of each move. They’d share out the contents, and Gabriel catalogued them – over 200 boxes in total over their career. One of those boxes had contained a ventriloquist’s dummy, which Gabriel passed on to his German son, Christof, who called it Christofini. The dummy kept butting into Christof’s part of the narrative, which did give a slightly surreal edge to things.I particularly loved reading about Gabriel and Bundo and their exploits through the years, lovable rogues both, always up for a chance to make a bit on the side or a game of cards. The sons’ stories weren’t as exciting in comparison, and as I read on, I did hope that they’d make progress on finding Gabriel, for at 473 pages, this is rather a long book. I won’t let on what finally happens, for this was a charming story told with humour, and you may want to find it out for yourself. Despite its length, Punti has created some memorable characters in this debut novel and I enjoyed the travels and travails of Gabriel, his friends and extended family a great deal. (8.5/10)