Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos
A Novel

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For all that it has to say about the relationship between the few rich and the many poor in Mexico, the writing is neither as clever nor as funny as it seems to think it is.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A brilliant new comic novel from "a linguistic virtuoso" (José Antonio Aguado, Diari de Terrassa)


It's the 1980s in Lagos de Moreno—a town where there are more cows than people, and more priests than cows—and a poor family struggles to overcome the bizarre dangers of living in Mexico. The father, a high-school civics teacher, insists on practicing and teaching the art of the insult, while the mother prepares hundreds of quesadillas to serve to their numerous progeny: Aristotle, Orestes, Archilochus, Callimachus, Electra, Castor, and Pollux. Confined to their home, the family bears witness to the revolt against the Institutional Revolutionary Party and their umpteenth electoral fraud. This political upheaval is only the beginning of Orestes's adventures and his uproarious crusade against the boredom of rustic life and the tyranny of his older brother.
Both profoundly moving and wildly funny, Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos's Quesadillas is a satiric masterpiece, chock-full of inseminated cows, Polish immigrants, religious pilgrims, alien spacecraft, psychedelic watermelons, and many, many "your mama" insults.

 

About Juan Pablo Villalobos

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Juan Pablo Villalobos was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1973, and lives in Brazil, where he writes for various publications and teaches courses in Spanish literature. He has written literary criticism, film criticism, and short stories. Villalobos is the author of Down the Rabbit Hole (FSG, 2012), which has been translated into fifteen languages.
 
Published February 11, 2014 by FSG Originals. 193 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Quesadillas
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Below average
on Nov 19 2013

For all that it has to say about the relationship between the few rich and the many poor in Mexico, the writing is neither as clever nor as funny as it seems to think it is.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Sep 30 2013

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.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Rachel Nolan on Mar 07 2014

In “Quesadillas,” the humor is less black, broader, more uproarious. This time the homely — the poverty and bad luck — is fantastical. This is realism mixed with absurdism...After a while, the Greek tragedy gag becomes tiresome, but Orestes does have some excellent adventures.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Feb 27 2014

I’d like to see a bit more texture in Mr. Villalobos’s fiction; I’d like a bit more complicated human interplay...But I’ll happily settle for his fiction world as it stands right now, which Orestes pretty well sums up: “Why pay for a psychoanalyst when you have a stoner uncle?”

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Reader Rating for Quesadillas
75%

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