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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,024 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
It’s the  eighties 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 progen ...more
Paperback, 158 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by FSG Originals (first published September 1st 2012)
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Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent satire, absolutely hilarious and smart. I would have liked the book to be longer and I wanted more of a narrative arc, or a sense of purpose. Nonetheless, this takes on class in Mexico or anywhere for that matter in a really useful way.
A lot of times swearwords are difficult to translate in all their colorful glory. The English version of the book tries hard to replicate the technicolor use of chingar in all its varied forms, but falls short. Surprisingly, this is an important factor in this book. As far a pacing goes, something seems a little off as well. In Spanish Villalobos really puts things like devaluation of the peso and alien abduction in the same category of absurdity, which is the book's strong point in its native l ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Un retratado descarnado de la pobreza, que se compensa con un sentido del humor negro con desparpajo:

"Lo peor no era ser pobre: lo peor era no tener idea de las cosas que se pueden hacer con el dinero."

Una crítica profunda y sentida,

"... una indiferencia a la que se le había extraviado la indolencia, era una indiferencia de lo más interesada."

con un final extraño y un tanto decepcionante.

Un escritor en el que vale la pena profundizar.
Alessandra JJ
Meldels, que livro engraçado! Seria cômico se não fosse trágico
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find this all that enjoyable, an okay read, but it felt too short and kind of pointless. Although looking back there were several moments in the story that made me laugh or hooked my interest. Only for them to lead nowhere. I think I'd have liked a longer and more developed story. Perhaps an author to try again in the future.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Que libro más divertido.

Definitivamente me saco varias carcajadas.


El Avestruz Liado
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comedy is one of the sharpest knives for cutting through reality and few authors exploit it with more power or grace than Villalobos. In this book the struggle of social classes in a rather remote town in a society dominated by a party dictatorship is portrayed. A society with no idea of what democracy -or life without monetary inflation- is about relieves its existential issues by shielding themselves behind religion or any other wild idea... like aliens.

The trademark of this book is its humor
Juan Pablo Villalobos ha escrito hasta ahora dos novelas muy mexicanas, dándole la vuelta a los clichés o burlándose de ellos (especialmente en ésta); cercanas a la realidad nacional, pero desde una postura crítica. Si en en Fiesta en la madriguera se aborda el tema del narcotráfico (reinventando o esquivando la narconovela) en el microcosmos de una familia (en realidad padre, hijo y algunos allegados), desde la perspectiva de un niño excéntrico para quien los lujos desaforados (recibir un hipop ...more
Carlos Beltrán
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Segundo libro de Juan Pablo Villalobos y la verdad es que lo disfruté mucho.

Lo agrego a mi lista de autores que me gusta lo que escriben y como lo escriben.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure what to think when I grabbed this book off the shelf at the library, but it sure wasn't this. This book is hilariously smart & sardonic as it criticizes Mexico's political, economic, and social class structure through the eyes of a large family living on a hill. All of the children are named after Greek philosophers, adding philosophical commentary undertones to the whole book. After two of the family's children go missing & a Polish family moves next door, the protagonist ...more
Bianca Santos
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comovente. De linguagem simples, o livro de Juan Pablo Villalobos entrelaça sentimentos complexos impossível ficar imune ao humor cortante que a obra traz. Oreo, personagem principal/narrador, é tão humano, tão presente que fica a dúvida entre amá-lo e desprezá-lo. As vezes é difícil continuar a leitura sabendo que esse mundo irreal/surreal está a dois passos de nós, me pergunto como foi possível para o autor penetrar tão fundo nesses sentimentos... E se o final não lhe agradar, fique com a resp ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In my thusfar failed "career" in fiction, I've attempted to inject magical realism, and it doesn't work, at least per feedback I've received. Okay, one time it did work.

But is this book a work of magical realism? The book is not metafiction, to be sure - it's satire - though at one point it almost becomes self-aware, when one characters says that what is happening is impossible and our hero, young Orestes, reacts with the awareness that Mexico is known as a surreal country. Surely a nod to Marqu
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spanish
Pretty dang good.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Rosalind Harvey translated my copy. Internet says she's a big shot translator and I think she did a good job. My only bone is that she refers to wood pigeons several times throughout the book but there are no wood pigeons in Mexico. Wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) are, according to wiki, native to Southern and Western Europe with a migratory presence in Northern Europe and Western Asia. White-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica), however, are very common in
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.

It's a story set in Mexico, that starts off as a basic tale of a family's struggle to survive. It throws up serious issues of poverty and equality but they are handled with humour, which makes this book an enjoyable read about a difficult subject.

I loved the writing style and the story was engaging throughout, meaning I easily finished it over a leisurely day's reading because I didn't want to put it down.

The ending was unexpected, it turns into more
Dan Martin
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little book packs quite a punch. Aliens, cows, missing kids, inept police chiefs, populate this satirical world, and it is quite the ride. The author has deftly written a story crammed full of laughs as he takes the reader on a journey through 1980 (?) Mexico, centering on a large family that learns to survive forces both external and internal by the number of quesadillas they get to eat each day. But with each turn of the page, as the story becomes crazier or fantastical, the author ground ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I won this book through First Reads in exchange for an honest review—thanks for choosing me!

I have a hard time looking at this book and not thinking of Napoleon Dynamite. Anyhow, this book is pretty nuts and I’m not really sure what to rate it exactly. I was quite interested in Orestes and his family and what it’s like to be ‘middle class’ in Mexico. I loved that Aristotle’s every other word was arsehole and I loved the rich neighbours next door in all their arrogant glory. But the last 5 or so
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
When in Mexico...

This is a hard one (really/probably 3.5 stars as I further explain). It is hilarious almost all of the time, the laugh out loud kind, for me at least. It was fast and engaging and well written, BUT I just didn't "get" the last 5-10 pages (the ultimate ending). I mean I "got" it, just didn't care for the direction it took. It was weird for me; that's all I will say. If you read it or if you've read it, let me know what you think.
Breno Filo
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Os oprimidos no México sonham, riem de sua própria desgraça... mas não os subestimem!
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tāda dusmīga satīra par to, kā visi politiķi ir cūkas, un Meksika tikai grimst uz leju. Smieklīgu vietu netrūkst, bet īsta dziļuma nav. Dažu stundu notriekšanai gan derēja labi.
Esto fue lo que me esperaba cuando decían que sería divertidísimo a diferencia de No Voy a Pedirle a Nadie Que Me Crea
Carissa Goble
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Judge this book by its vibrant, eclectic cover and rush out to pick it up!! The story is about Orestes and his six brothers and sisters as they fight for their share of the Quesadillas at the table. Villalobos uses his naive voice ironically to write bitterly hilarious social/economical/political commentary surrounded by aliens, lesbian cows and magical red buttons. Loads of fun.
Pickle Farmer
This book is a good follow-up to "Down the Rabbit Hole." Kudos to Villalobos for not imitating the success of that book--instead of sticking with the concept of "Rabbit" (in which the story was driven by a very unique and memorable voice), he takes things here in a decidedly different direction. The focus in this book is on the wacky events, surrealistic humor and political satire, rather than the voice. Overall the book feels a bit episodic, but I think maybe that was the point? To make fun of ...more
Richard Smith
I read this book partly because it was recommended by a literary friend and more because I was travelling to Mexico. I like to read a novel from the countries I visit when I’m there. The book paints a bleak picture of Mexico, but it hardly held my attention: neither the characters nor the plot engaged me. Indeed, the part I enjoyed most was the glossary, which explained various Mexican words and briefly summarised decades of incompetent and corrupt government by the PRI. I did read the brief int ...more
Segunda novela después de la desquiciante Fiesta. Leí esta primero, no tan amena, esa picaresca inepta de un huido de casa por un motivo tan inane como tonto, esas descripciones de la jodidencia de la clase bajomediera, con sus limitados placeres gastronómicos, ese vivir precariamente en una futura colonia popoff (ja, ja, desganado) no me causaron ni la más gracia enana. La Fiesta es otra cosa. Enmarcada en las más rancia cultura criminal, a cuyos miembros no les bastan estas tierras para tratar ...more
Guillermo Jiménez
Bueno, bueno, bueno. Villalobos (Guadalajara, México, 1973) es de esos casos anómalos de la literatura mexicana: autor traducido a otros idiomas, entre ellos el inglés, lo que le ha granjeado reseñas y hasta ser finalista del 2011 Guardian First Book Award.

Y merecido lo tiene. El tipo tiene talento y tino y mucha gracia.

Esta novela no solo es heredera del mejor Ibargüengoitia, sino familiar de la obra de César Aira y otros autores contemporáneos.

Villalobos nos da una novela que se disfruta desde
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the quirkiest books Ive read in a while. Hard ti describe. Set in Mexico, so backdrop is of corruption and poverty. The narrator, Orestes (all his brothers and sisters are named after classical Greeks) is a teenager trying to survive and make sense of his world. Each day he competes at mealtimes for his share of Quesadillas - there are 80 fingers at the meal table so it is very competitive - whose thickness and nutritional content vary daily with the economy. They get very thin at times o ...more
Yes, being poor sucks, and being poor in Mexico really sucks. Other than reminding us that older brothers, crazy fathers and corrupt politicians also suck, the only thing this book has to offer is some mildly amusing references to Greek Mythology and alien abduction conspiracies. Unfortunately for the reader, Gabriel Garcia Marquez this guy ain’t and the attempts at magical realism fall painfully flat. Neither is this guy Carlos Fuentes so the reader has very little historical context in which t ...more
Larissa Tollstadius
Uma viagem ao México. Podemos ver que nós brasileiros partilhamos parte dos hábitos e sofrimentos do povo mexicano. As oscilações da economia nacional e o desgosto com os políticos, são duas das nossas semelhanças. Por outro lado podemos conhecer alguns diferenças, seja na alimentação, as tortillas são citadas a todo momento, ou uma na presença ainda mais forte da religião no cotidiano das pessoas de "classe média". A situação da família de Oreo é comovente, mas ao invés de nos levar a tristeza, ...more
Lolo S.
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lolo by:
A frantic little novel about the shit-tastic life of the poor in 1980s, surrealist, Mexico. Alien abductions, nameless politicians, senile grandparents, elitist Polish people from nowhere, and bovine insemination all make appearances in this Mexican-cum-Greek tragedy.

The book could have been longer, and more substantive. The narrator spends a lot of time cataloguing the types of quesadillas his family eats, depending on the financial times. At one point, the quesadillas are cooked over an open
Onette Morales (Zabinski)
This was my Powell's Books find... and I am so glad I found it! This little book's packed with everything from Mexican politics and commentary, vivid descriptions of poverty (embedded with humor), big family life, swearing/cussing/slang terms (que todos ya conocemos), and aliens. Yup, aliens.

This book invited me to look into the complex history of my land and that is definitely a good thing. I look forward to reading more for Villalobos... though I'll likely look for the Spanish versions next t
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Juan Pablo Villalobos nació en Guadalajara, México, en 1973. Estudió Marketing y Literatura Hispánica. Ha realizado cientos de estudios de mercado y ha publicado crónicas de viaje, crítica literaria y crítica de cine. Se ha ocupado de investigar temas tan dispares como la ergonomía de los retretes, la influencia de las vanguardias en la obra de César Aira, la flexibilidad de los poliductos para in ...more
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“en esta vida por cada victoria pinchísima nos corresponde un cataclismo cabroncísimo” 2 likes
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