Read Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos Rosalind Harvey Online

quesadillas

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 progenIt’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 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 son 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, 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. ...

Title : Quesadillas
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374533953
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 158 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Quesadillas Reviews

  • Roxane
    2019-03-24 04:44

    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.

  • John
    2019-03-14 10:05

    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 language, so when the crazy ending comes to pass it seems fairly natural. Less so in English. And one more thing, Orestes is a little more likable in English, while its abundantly clear he's a little asshole in Spanish, but an incredibly amusing one. With those caveats its a fun read in English, but I think it will be lost on people why it was chosen for translation.If you have some Spanish skills I would opt for the original for its complete lack of incredulity about the ridiculous story being told.

  • Susana
    2019-03-12 05:00

    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
    2019-03-12 10:59

    Meldels, que livro engraçado! Seria cômico se não fosse trágico

  • Pink
    2019-02-22 12:01

    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.

  • Pustulio
    2019-03-14 03:57

    Que libro más divertido. Definitivamente me saco varias carcajadas.Apruebo.

  • El Avestruz Liado
    2019-03-16 04:48

    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 which is magnificent and somehow reminds me of Ibargüengoitia -from Guanajuato, not far away from Lagos- and it is used to great effect in this tragicomedy. It all starts with the gazillionth electoral fraud committed by the PRI in the eighties which causes a curfew in Lagos de Moreno, a small town in northern Jalisco. As soon as the curfew ends Oreo's family is in desperate need to get some groceries and then tragedy strikes and since, as we all know, there is no bottom for the pit of sorrows; nothing will be able to stop the fall into an abyss that is in good measure self-made.All of this make this book sounds like a greek tragedy, and the names of brothers in this family might actually reinforce this idea as all of them are named after greek philosophers by an hellenophile high school professor. Nonetheless, the book never feels heavy as the use of comedy to great effect manages to relieve even some of the most dramatic passages in which poor people are grossly abused by the powerful. And trust me, that comedy is very welcome or otherwise this book would read like a passage from Apocalypse, region 4.You might still be wondering what kind of book is this one. If that is your case, just look at the cover, a cow is abducted by an ufo that resembles a tuna can from a meager home (a shoebox, as described in the book) on top of some hill (el cerro de la Chingada). It captures perfectly the essence of the book, a portrait of place that might seem magic and/or surreal but at the end of the day is just screwed, deeply screwed. A brisk and fun read that will leave the reader with many questions and is pertinent to current Mexico, where society apparently has decided that democracy ain't that great and "old times were better". Those are the times depicted in this book.

  • Viajerovertical
    2019-02-21 06:44

    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 hipopótamo enano de Liberia como regalo de cumpleaños, por ejemplo) y las ejecuciones son elementos cotidianos; en Si viviéramos en un lugar normal es un adolescente de familia numerosa (donde todos tienen nombres provenientes de la mitología griega, lo que funciona como un recurso para recontextualizar las tragedias clásicas en una versión posmo, tercermundista y esperpéntica --por cierto, en su primera novela todos los personajes tienen nombres nahuas--) quien narra, en retrospectiva (es decir, el narrador no es un adolescente sólo recuerda sus estrambóticos años de juventud), sus desventuras ochenteras de pobre, comedor de quesadillas, en Lagos de Moreno (específicamente en el cerro de la Chingada) con un humor ácido y desternillante. (Debo decir, entre paréntesis, que no debería abusar de los paréntesis. Y otra cosa: a pesar de que Juan Pablo Villalobos lleva ya varios años viviendo fuera del país no ha olvidado ni un ápice de mexicano, como se puede saborear desde la primera línea de la novela: "Vas y chingas a tu reputísima madre, cabrón, ¡vete a la chingada!" Escrita con una prosa agilísima y cargada de mentadas de madre, como si la página fuera un campo minado. En realidad todos los mexicanos somos, en mayor o menor medida, profesionales del insulto.) En un sentido este libro es el negativo del retrato de México, donde se arroja luz sobre las partes que generalmente son oscurecidas. Un país donde no nos morimos todos de hambre simplemente porque es muy tardado. Y un país, también, donde todo puede pasar. "¿Acaso no vivíamos en el país en que vivíamos? ¿No se suponía que nos pasaban cosas fantásticas y maravillosas todo el tiempo? ¿No hablábamos con los muertos? ¿No decía todo el mundo que éramos un país surrealista?". Pues sí.

  • Carlos Beltrán
    2019-03-11 06:57

    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.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-05 04:00

    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 shares his experience and frustrations of Mexico's current political & economic corruption and how it has impacted his & his family's lives. Such an intelligent, useful book. Laugh out loud funny & absurdist humor at parts makes it a really enjoyable, fast & educational read.

  • Bianca Santos
    2019-03-05 05:03

    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 resposta latente de Oreo que permeia o livro inteiro: "(...)por acaso não morávamos no país que morávamos? Não era pra acontecerem coisas fantásticas e maravilhosas o tempo todo?(...)".

  • Noemi
    2019-03-13 03:53

    Super divertido!Es un relato de una familia luchando con la situación económica de México a finales de los 80's en San Juan de los Lagos. El uso del lenguaje mexicanismo y analogías llenas de humor lo hacen una lectura super entretenida.No le puse 5 estrellitas porque siento que la última parte no estuvo tan a la altura de la primera, a pesar de eso no dudaría en recomendarlo ampliamente como un buen snack literario.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-11 10:47

    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 Marquez and others?I don't know. I'm definitely not Mexican, though I'm in a border state and have weird romantic and sad thoughts about the place. It's depressing but sexy, or something. But this book is not sexy. It's not even depressing, maybe because it's so damn funny and clever. Speechless while Orestes is graphically inseminating cows, I could only appreciate that this is a writer who didn't really hold back.The book is satire, but with a hell of a main character, complex and too witty for his age, which makes it funnier. I caught myself actually smiling through most of the book, but I also still felt peril when peril was appropriate. I usually agreed with Orestes' inner commentary most of the time, and learned a bit of what life is like being impoverished in a land of corruption and, apparently, false hope.The book, in its seemingly absurd ending, shines a light on that false hope, I feel. In that way, the book becomes more an argument accepting reality as it is. Or, perhaps, there is greater joy in pretending that everything is going to be okay someday. Quesadillas leaves us with that question, and while it's a sobering one, Mr. Villalobos makes it fun.

  • Ross
    2019-02-28 04:41

    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 Mexico and are known to make their homes in acacia trees. I'm interested to know the Spanish word in the original text that Ms. Harvey decided to translate as wood pigeon. Could Sr. Villalobos have intended to refer to white-winged doves? Some other bird? Am I wrong about all of this? Dunno. I suspected Ms. Harvey was British from her repeated use of the word arsehole and internet confirms so I thought maybe English people called white-winged doves wood pigeons. More internet tells me that this is not the case, as English people call wood pigeons "culvers" and I'm not sure they even have a special British word for the white-winged dove. At this time, I would like to propose that the British use the term "bobby flapper" to refer to white-winged doves. I have derived this word from my experience with other ridiculous British terms like "anti-clockwise", "gobsmacked", and "anon". I welcome other suggestions. Finally, if you ever find yourself in the Tamaulipan Thornscrub after a day of hunting with a pile of headless, plucked bobby flappers at your feet, here is a good recipe that is sure to please even the most epicureanly reluctant gringo: http://thetexasgourmet.com/cook-book/...Adios.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-19 08:00

    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 of a fantastical story, which highlights the ridiculousness of the situation. Personally I would have preferred a bit more of a rounded ending with 'what happened next', maybe still encompassing the fantasy element, but just more of a traditional 'end' to the story. That's just personal taste though - perhaps I'm just not forward thinking enough to be entirely happy with an ending that I'm sure would be enjoyed by a lot of people!As an aside, the actual edition of the book itself is lovely. A very high quality paperback, which would certainly have me interested in other books from the publishers (And Other Stories).Reading this book was a lovely way to use a long afternoon.

  • Dan Martin
    2019-03-08 03:40

    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 grounds it in the realities of everyday life. And you're going to need it for the ending...Highly recommended! And at some point I'll be picking up the author's other novel soon.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-28 06:00

    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 pages…wtf?? Spaceships? Rampant cow sex? What just happened?? The more I think about it, the more I dig it. Damn, I want some quesadillas.

  • Gina
    2019-03-05 08:47

    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
    2019-03-16 10:47

    Os oprimidos no México sonham, riem de sua própria desgraça... mas não os subestimem!

  • Esagui
    2019-03-22 04:01

    Me deja la impresión de que mucho se queda en el tintero. Se siente un intento por ser concreta, pero se sabe, con el pasar de las páginas, un intento fallido.Las situaciones se suceden sin mucha explicación, y aun menos reacción racional por parte de los personajes. Situaciones que me molestan de sobremanera.Compensando con humor negro, y palabrotas, cual símil de Ibargüengoitia, también fracasa, pues se siente forzado y fuera de lugar. Sí, medio así hablamos los mexicanos, pero ese "medio" es el importante, no fluye con naturalidad.La trama no liga bien a bien, la coherencia se pierde, las reacciones deshumanizadas, las situaciones forzadas, me hicieron no disfrutar el libro. Llegando a odiarlo en la recta final, sin embargo, con ese último dialogo final se logra sobreponer un poco (por ello las 4 estrellas y no 3). Me generó la sensación de que el final si fue pulido, trabajo y bien desarrollado para, con esa última estocada, poder levantarse y aplaudir por un buen remate.Una verdadera lastima que eso no pasó con el resto del libro.Pese a todo lo anterior, me parece un autor interesante al cual seguirle la pista. Aunque esta novela seguramente pasará al olvidó, espero el nombre del autor no cuando vea más de sus libros en las estanterías.

  • Vilis
    2019-03-14 11:55

    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.

  • Concertina
    2019-03-20 04:40

    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
    2019-03-07 09:03

    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
    2019-03-07 04:52

    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 conventional literary realism that insists that a book needs to "go" somewhere? Anyway, for what it's worth I enjoyed the class commentary in this book, particularly in the narrator's interactions with his rich Polish neighbor. Very cutting and well-observed details. And I love the idea of his brothers being "pretend twins"--twins that aren't really twins, that don't even look alike. I also loved the madcap energy of the end and the way it was making fun of magical realism, and the way that people say in eager tones of voice that omg, Latin America is sooooo special, just like anything can happen there!!! So yeah, I appreciated the dark humor. Apparently this book along with "Down the Rabbit Hole" is a trilogy about contemporary Mexico. So maybe this book is kind of like the necesarry, flawed follow-up to the Big Successful Book That Everyone Loved, and then once you're liberated from that, you can really take things to the next level. Villalobos is definitely a talent and I remain eager and excited to continue reading his bookwork

  • Richard Smith
    2019-03-01 06:41

    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 introduction and read this: “Perhaps this book will deliver a much-needed jolt to the anglosphere cocooned in its realism-induced narcolepsy.” Somehow the jolt never arrived, and I fear that I may enjoy “realism-induced narcolepsy.”

  • Guillermojimenezespneo
    2019-03-19 03:56

    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 de llevar la gozadera de la vida hasta el límite más extremo. Los caprichos del narco, capaz de satisfacer hasta sus últimas consecuencias cualquier deseo por muy enloquecido que sea (remember Caro con Sara) está tan estupendamente escrito y descrito que me quito el sombrero y los calcetines y rindo homenaje aplaudiente y brindante con Tres Generaciones plata para esperanzado esperar el último número/novela del tal Villalobos. Acaso se lea mejor escuchando un narcocorrido o después de un pericazo o después de echar unas cuantas balas o después de un churro. Quizás.

  • Guillermo Jiménez
    2019-03-24 11:53

    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 el inicio, no sé cómo la leerán los anglosajones, pero yo me reí bastante con su tono y sus personajes bien definidos.La mera verdad, vale la pena: uno ve como conviven tranquilamente los mitos griegos con la cultura popular y política mexicana.Espero con ansia poder leer pronto la celebrada "Fiesta en la madriguera".

  • Ian
    2019-02-26 07:08

    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 of hyper inflation! Add in a mix of bovine eroticism (you'll have to read the chapter), a disappearing set of "pretend twins", who may have been abducted by aliens, and you begin to get the idea. Darkly funny, but a;ways acerbic, i really enjoyed this novella and, if you enjoy off the wall books, I'd happily recommend it.

  • Dergrossest
    2019-03-16 04:02

    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 to place any of the events. Really, reading this book is like joining a conversation with strangers midstream and not being in on the joke. Maybe this reads better in Spanish, but I doubt it. Not much to recommend here.

  • Larissa Tollstadius
    2019-03-06 08:47

    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, o autor nos faz rir. Usa de uma ironia de certa forma inocente. É um livro leve, divertido, mas crítico.