Juan Pablo Villalobos’s “Down the Rabbit Hole” comes into Iranian bookstores 

November 14, 2020 - 18:5

TEHRAN – A Persian translation of Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos’ debut novel “Down the Rabbit Hole” has recently been published by Cheshmeh Publications in Tehran. 

The book has been translated into Persian by Mohammadreza Farzad.

Long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, “Down the Rabbit Hole” is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child’s wish.

Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo, a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. 

But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, dealers, servants and an odd, corrupt politician or two. 

Villalobos's debut novel is a smart variation on the recent vogue for Latin American “narcoliterature”. 

“Down the Rabbit Hole” is told from the point of view not of a gangster or a cop, but that of a young child, ensconced in the cold and zany milieu of Mexican cocaine deals, political string-pulling and back-alley assassinations.

Narrator Tochtli is the son of a powerful drug lord known as “The King”. A witness to its horrors and yet too young to fully grasp its savagery, it is what Tochtli doesn’t quite comprehend that makes “Down the Rabbit Hole” so devastating. His limited understanding paradoxically conveys a deeper and more penetrating image of the darkness at the gang’s heart. 

But Villalobos has greater ambitions still. In addition to the oblique entry he plots into this sinister world, he also intends to take on the idea of Mexico as merely a passive recipient of global machinations past and present.

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 conduits for electrical installations. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian translation of Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos’ novel “Down the Rabbit Hole”.

RM/MMS/YAW

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