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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 cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, dealers, and the odd corrupt politician or two. Down the Rabbit Hole, a masterful and darkly-comic first novel, is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child's wish.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'A pint-size novel about innocence, beastliness and a child learning the lingo in a drug wonderland. Funny, convincing, appalling, it's a punch-packer for one so small.' Ali Smith, Book of the Year, Daily Telegraph'Down the Rabbit Hole is a miniature high-speed experiment with perspective - a deliberate, wild attack on the conventions of literature.' Adam Thirlwell
'That rarest of animals, a book that is, to all intents and purposes, perfect.' Sarah Churchwell, Book of the Year, New Statesman
'Juan Pablo Villalobos, channeled Mexico's drug wars via the voice of a narco-baron's son in his touching and invigorating Down the Rabbit Hole.' Boyd Tonkin, in his round-up of the year's best fiction, The Independent
'If you're going to have an imprisoned child narrate a novel, then not so much as a word should be out of place. There are no such slips in Juan Pablo Villalobos's debut novella. We have here a control over the material which is so tight it is almost claustrophobic. [...] This is a novel about failing to understand the bigger picture, and in its absence we can see it more clearly.' Nicholas Lezard, Choice of the Week, The Guardian
'The cumulative parodic effect is chillingly powerful.' Edward King, Sunday Times
'Juan Pablo Villalobos brilliantly encapsulates the chaos of a lawless existence in which, under the sway of drug lords, anything might happen and everything goes. [...] Down the Rabbit Hole is an astonishing debut from Villalobos' Lucy Popescu, The Independent
'Villalobos creates Tochtli's half-corrupt, half-innocent world [...] with a brilliant, tragi-comic light touch.' Jane Shilling, Daily Mail
'Refreshingly original' Angel Gurria-Quintana, FT.
'A beautifully realised short novel that narrates the daily life of a powerful drug lord ensconced in his palatial hideaway, seen through the clear eyes of his young son ... A brief and majestic debut that converts the 'drug novel' into a fascinating narrative.' Matias Nespolo, El Mundo
'Showing how a child absorbs violence without awareness that something is wrong is a tricky endeavor. Mr. Villalobos nails it.' New York Times