Down the Rabbit Hole: A Novel
Juan Pablo Villalobos
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"A brief and majestic debut." ―Matías Néspolo, El Mundo
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, prostitutes, dealers, servants, and the odd corrupt politician or two. Long-listed for The Guardian First Book Award, Down the Rabbit Hole, a masterful and darkly comic first novel, is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child's wish.
collect plants and animals. In the place where the spaceship landed they left a burnt patch where no plants have ever grown again, not even grass. And this was many years ago, more than four, I think. Another time the aliens came to abduct a little girl. And another time they were hovering above Aguascalientes for an hour. The doctor doesn’t come any more because Yolcaut got annoyed with him. Once, according to Miztli, the doctor told Yolcaut it wasn’t really my stomach making me ill, but that
or anything like that. That’s why they’re advanced: because they’re like us and even so they invented the guillotine. Whereas we use machetes to cut off heads. The difference between the guillotine and the machete is that the guillotine is devastating. With a guillotine, you can cut off a head in just one slice. Whereas with a machete you have to do lots more slices, at least four. And with the guillotine you can make immaculate cuts, you don’t even splatter blood around. By the way, Franklin
with Mazatzin. He only annoys me when he’s strict and makes me stick to our study plan rigidly. Mazatzin, by the way, doesn’t call me Tochtli. He calls me Usagi, which is my name in Japanese, because he loves everything from the empire of Japan. What I really like about the empire of Japan are the samurai films. I’ve seen some of them so many times I know them off by heart. When I watch them I go on ahead and say the samurai’s conversations out loud before they do. And I never get it wrong.
Kate Pullinger Kate Wild Kevin Brockmeier Krystalli Glyniadakis Laura Watkinson Laura McGloughlin Liz Tunnicliffe Lorna Bleach Louise Rogers Maisie Fitzpatrick Margaret Jull Costa Marion Cole Nichola Smalley Nick Stevens Nick Sidwell Nicola Hearn Nicola Harper Olivia Heal Peter Law Peter Blackstock Philip Leichauer Polly McLean Rachel McNicholl Rebecca Whiteley Rebecca Miles Rebecca Carter Rebecca K. Morrison Réjane Collard Ros Schwartz Ruth Martin Samantha Schnee
drawers and the rifles are hidden inside a cupboard. I didn’t have time to count them, because I didn’t want Yolcaut to find me, but we must have at least about 1,000 guns and about 500 rifles. We’ve got all different sizes, we even have a rifle with gigantic bullets. That’s when I realised Yolcaut and I are playing the bullet game wrong: with a bullet from that rifle you’d definitely turn into a corpse, it wouldn’t matter where it got you, apart from the hair, which is already dead. We should