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I'll Sell You a Dog

by Juan Pablo Villalobos

Growing old disgracefully in Mexico City, Teo takes his revenge on the pretensions of artists and revolutionaries, with black humour over the demise of several dogs and a steadfast refusal to write a novel. It's his ill-concealed complicity in the canine element of tacos, and the understated references to the earthquake of 1985, which make you understand he will finally create the readable anti-autobiographical, anti-Proustian reminiscence.

Extract

Then he asked me if I had a girlfriend, and I told him I was going to get married in a few months. It was the time of my supposed marriage. He asked to see a picture of my fiancée. I didn't have one on me. He asked what she was called. I told him she was called Marilin, but my sister cut in and said she was actually called Hilaria. My father tried to interrogate my sister, too, but she kept quiet, pretending to be very busy enjoying the view: she was seeing a married man on the sly. When it was time for dessert he recommended we try the mango in syrup and eventually asked us how our mother was. I enumerated her ailments for him.
We finished our dessert and it began to grow dark, and all our blood went to our stomachs to work. The we really did have the impression we'd been eating with a ghost, that our father had died and we were in a dream. The only thing we didn't know was who was having the dream: my mother, me or my sister.
Translated by Rosalind Harvey

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