By (author) Juan Pablo Villalobos, Translated by Rosalind Harvey, Introduction by Neel Mukherjee

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  • Publisher: And Other Stories
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 20mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2013
  • Publication City/Country: High Wycombe
  • ISBN 10: 1908276223
  • ISBN 13: 9781908276223
  • Sales rank: 350,384

Product description

While his father preaches Hellenic virtues and practises the art of the insult, Orestes' mother prepares hundreds of quesadillas for Orestes and the rest of their brood: Aristotle, Archilocus, Callimachus, Electra, Castor and Pollux. She insists they are middle class, but Orestes is not convinced. And after another fraudulent election and the disappearance of his younger brothers, he heads off on an adventure. Orestes meets a procession of pilgrims, a stoner uncle called Pink Floyd and a beguiling politician who teaches him how to lie, and he learns some valuable lessons about families, truth and bovine artificial insemination. With Quesadillas, Juan Pablo Villalobos serves up a wild banquet. Anything goes in this madcap Mexican satire of politics, big families, and what it means to be middle class.

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Author information

Juan Pablo Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973. His first novel, Down the Rabbit Hole, was the first translation ever to be shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award (in 2011) and the book has been translated into 15 languages. Quesadillas is his second novel. He writes regularly for publications including Granta, English PEN's PEN Atlas blog, World Literature Today and The Coffin Factory, including fiction, film reviews, translations and travel writing. He has researched such diverse topics as the influence of the avant-garde on the work of Cesar Aira and the flexibility of pipelines for electrical installations. He lives in Brazil and has two children.

Review quote

'Piles absurdity upon improbability with gleeful abandon. Yet the book is as much a coruscating parody of Mexican culture as Villalobos's debut, Down the Rabbit Hole, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Guardian first book award - Quesadillas, translated by Rosalind -------- Harvey, does for magic realism what Down the Rabbit Hole did for "narco-literature" - The high-keyed domestic comedy is enjoyable for its own sake, but provides cover for a satirical assault on the mendacity of Mexican politics.' Alfred Hickling, The Guardian -------- 'Off the beaten track, Juan Pablo Villalobos followed up his Guardian first book award-shortlisted Down the Rabbit Hole with a satire of Mexican politics and dysfunctional families, Quesadillas (And Other Stories): black comedy done with a light touch, it's stylish, scabrous, and hugely enjoyable.' Justine Jordan, Best Books of 2013, The Guardian -------- 'A raucous picaresque - structured like a memory, elliptical and episodic - The novel's irreverent tone and brevity bring to mind the satires of Villalobos's countryman, Jorge Ibarguengoitia; and in its extreme situations and fantastical occurrences we see a concerted attack on literary realism.' Matt Lewis, TLS -------- 'Short, dark, comic, ribald and surreal - manic-impressive.' Dwight Garner, New York Times -------- 'Villalobos mines Mexico for its everyday surrealism, even as he mocks how outsiders exoticize his country.' Rachel Nolan, New York Times -------- 'Villalobos - fuses personal mythologies and political margins in his new novel, a riotous tall tale - Calling it magical realism would be lazy, given the undertone of socially conscious indignation that underlies often-fantastical imagery - With tidy, uncompromised prose, Villalobos has inaugurated a new kind of avant-garde novel, one whose grasp of certain dehumanizing political realities never erodes the power to dream something better.' Publishers Weekly -------- 'Guaranteed to entertain, from its attention-grabbing opening line to its gloriously bizarre climax.' Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times 'This book will deliver a much-needed jolt to the Anglosphere cocooned in its realism-induced narcolepsy.' Neel Mukherjee -------- 'Villalobos's latest book, Quesadillas, is surreal, and not without laughs - the stoner uncle is called Pink Floyd.' Sinead Gleeson, Irish Times 'Quesadillas is gloriously absurd, celebrates the fantastical, and plays with notions of magic realism. It is his delight in language that marks out Villalobos as a writer of distinction. He is well served by Rosalind Harvey's flawless translation.' Lucy Popescu, Books of the Year, English PEN -------- 'Quesadillas is bursting with Villalobos' comic invention.' El Pais -------- 'The modern novel's three commands are that it should be "Funny, Brutalist and short", in our hero B.S. Johnson's words. Villalobos' Quesadillas fulfils this perfectly.' Kiko Amat -------- 'Pure fantastical rapture, a kaleidoscopic story about anger and adolescence.' Julie Morse, The Rumpus -------- 'An entertaining satire on political corruption in 1980's Mexico - this picaresque coming-of-age story goes from the absurdist to the totally surreal, engaging the reader without sentimentality.' Anne Horton-Smith, Whichbook -------- 'Villalobos has come to stay - and to say loud and clear that in Mexico almost anything is possible.' El Periodico de Catalunya -------- 'Fascinating, thought-provoking and involving' Empty the Bookshelf 'Quesadillas marks Juan Pablo Villalobos out as a talent to watch - hopefully [he] grows into an important voice coming out of Central America.' Matt Tod, A Novel Approach -------- '[a] vibrant, comic novel' Leigh Newman, Oprah.com -------- 'A rambunctious, energetic piece of writing. Madcap and effervescent, this story of a teenager's desire to escape his dull, supposedly middle class family home is an education and entertainment. An education because it gives us insights into another country's way of life - Entertainment, because you'll laugh out loud from page one till you catch your breath at the end. Rosalind Harvey's translation captures the exuberance of the original, and this short novel is accompanied by author's notes, a glossary, and an introduction by Neel Mukherjee which sets the context for this magic realist / absurd / riotous satire of economic and political aspiration.' Book Trust