I’ll Sell You a Dog

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Long before he was the taco seller whose ‘Gringo Dog’ recipe made him famous throughout Mexico City, our hero was an aspiring artist: an artist, that is, till his would-be girlfriend was stolen by Diego Rivera, and his dreams snuffed out by his hypochondriac mother. Now our hero is resident in a retirement home, where fending off boredom is far more grueling than making tacos. Plagued by the literary salon that bumps about his building’s lobby and haunted by the self-pitying ghost of a neglected artist, Villalobos’s old man can’t help but misbehave: he antagonises his neighbors, tortures American missionaries with passages from Adorno, and flirts with the revolutionary greengrocer.

A delicious take-down of pretensions to cultural posterity, I’ll Sell You a Dog is a comic novel whose absurd inventions, scurrilous antics and oddball characters are vintage Villalobos.

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