These antic and often dire stories depict the violence and corruption that plague Mexico today, but they are also ruminative and layered explorations of the narrative impulse and the ethics of art making.
... electrifying ... [an] impressive assemblage ... Beyond the death and destruction, Herbert certainly knows how to cultivate erudite narrative company ... Reunited with award-winning translator Christina MacSweeney, Herbert presents 10 stories ready to disturb, quite possibly even disgust. That said, even for the most reluctant readers, the surprisingly immersive humor and slyly playful wit make resistance futile.
... flatters Western-style writers like the book’s namesake, Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, and Roberto Bolaño, and then cuts them down to size. Packed with the outlaws, quippy dialogue, and violence of his influences, Quentin Tarantino emphasizes the tragic circumstances that fuel these kinds of stories, proving that a Western is neither a setting nor a gun. It is a mindset and a circumstance. The result is a kaleidoscopic collection that begins faithful to influences, then morphs into a postmodern wrestling match between the seduction of capitalistic thought and the economic inequity that keeps the characters in such claustrophobic and dangerous internal worlds ... MacSweeney’s English translation imbues the collection’s narrators with the same enterprising charisma as she did the enigmatic Highway in Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth ... an ambitious, generous boon. While this deliberately challenging read might turn off a casual reader, Herbert’s parody of Tarantino’s style and MacSweeney’s lively translation chart unmarked territory for other artists to explore. This book does future writers a kindness: Herbert is practically begging to be turned into kitsch.
... playful, surreal ... While not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, Herbert’s stories use a light touch to explore the dilemma of the intellectual enmeshed in a crudely vicious world. This provocatively cerebral volume should amuse those with a taste for literary horror.