Nominated by:

Biblioteca Demonstrativa Maria da Conceição Moreira Salles

Fundação Biblioteca Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil

Publisher of nominated edition:

And Other Stories, UK

Quesadillas

Juan Pablo Villalobos      

Translated from the original Spanish by Rosalind Harvey

2015 Longlist

Anarchy in Mexico – a comic novel about screwed-up families and politics from the author of Down the Rabbit Hole.

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 Castor and Pollux, 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 about politics, big families, and what it means to be middle class.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Juan Pablo Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973. He studied marketing and Spanish literature. He has researched such diverse topics as the influence of the avant-garde on the work of César Aira and the flexibility of pipelines for electrical installations. Villalobos’ first novel, Down the Rabbit Hole, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2011 and the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2012. He has published travel stories and literary and film criticism. He now lives in Brazil and has two Mexican-Brazilian-Italian-Catalan children.

About the Translator

Rosalind Harvey has lived in Lima and Norwich, where she fell in love with Spanish and translation, respectively. She now lives in London, where she translates Hispanic fiction. As well as Quesadillas her translations include Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos, Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas and she is the co-translator with Anne McLean of Hector Abad’s Oblivion. Last autumn she was one of Free Word Centre’s first ever translators-in-residence.

Librarian’s Comments

In Lucy Popescu’s words: Quesadillas is glorious, absurd, celebrates the fantastical and plays with notions of magic realism. But it is Villalobos’s punky, laconic style that most impresses and marks him out as a writer of distinction.”

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