Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera


Yuri Herrera

Lisa Dillman

Price: £8.99/$13.95 (print); £5/$8 (ebook)

B format paperback


eBook ISBN:

Original language:

Published by:
And Other Stories

Publication date:
8 June 2017 (UK/Europe) / 13 June 2017 (US/Canada)

In the court of the King, everyone knows their place. But as the Artist wins hearts and egos with his ballads, uncomfortable truths emerge that shake the Kingdom to its core. Part surreal fable and part crime romance, this prize-winning novel from Yuri Herrera questions the price of keeping your integrity in a world ruled by patronage and power.

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Praise for Kingdom Cons

  • ‘Herrera employs a fable-like tone to depict a world shot through with violence . . . [Valeria] Luiselli and Herrera are two of the best writers working today: unsentimental, clear-eyed witnesses in troubling times.’ Katie Kitamura, Financial Times Summer Reads
  • ‘With the appearance of  Kingdom Cons, all three of Yuri Herrera’s novellas, which meld evocations of contemporary Mexican life with different forms of mythologizing, are at last available in English . . . This cunning little drama about the line separating art from agitprop is, like the other books, translated with colloquial verve by Lisa Dillman. The Artist’s mission statement could speak for the whole of Mr. Herrera’s daring and memorable project: “Let them be scared, let the decent take offense. Put them to shame. Why else be an artist?”’ Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
  • ‘Evocative of a very real – and very fraught – milieu . . . the novel burns through plot and features bursts of terse lyrical reverie.’ José Teodoro, National Post (Canada)
  • ‘Beautiful and just . . . To read Herrera is to be immersed, almost involuntarily, in the uncanny.’ New Republic
  • Kingdom Cons displays . . . a gritty and highly stylized realism played out by dramatic, archetypal characters [and] exemplifies, in a host of ways, what leads people to delusional behavior.’ Tobias Carroll, Culture Trip
  • ‘A powerful and memorable meditation on the social and economic value of art in a world ruled by the pursuit of power.’ Publishers Weekly
  • ‘[Herrera’s] story world is brutal but makes room for art, both in the Artist’s personal growth and in Herrera’s sparse yet powerful prose. Simple turns of phrase can astonish as much as the plot does in its gravity. The clear hierarchy and the price of disobedience feel almost medieval and, as in Herrera’s previous novels, each shift in place marks a shift in the rules.’ Nicola Balkind, Big Issue
  • ‘Herrera is a jumbler of cultural forms, both literary and vernacular. Kingdom Cons is narrated with a bardic omniscience, a mythopoetic tone satisfyingly coarsened by slangy dialogue. The musicality of the prose turns the slim novel into its own kind of narcocorrido.’ Anya Ventura, Americas Quarterly
  • ‘Slim and seductive, infused with the border-land, narco-world suspense that has marked Herrera as one of Mexico’s finest novelists, [Kingdom Cons] promises to be a sizzling summer read.’ Vulture Summer Preview
  • ‘In recent years, several of Yuri Herrera’s books have been translated into English, and Anglophone readers have been able to see how he blends realism with a sense of the mythic. [Kingdom Cons] brings together fable-like elements with more tactile and harrowing ones.’ Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn June 2017 Preview
  • ‘The novel soars where legend and fine detail merge into something original and true.’ W.S. Lyon, Los Angeles Review of Books
  • ‘Kingdom Cons condenses myth and archetype into concrete, brutal noir. Gritty and visceral, but also elegant and surreal, Herrera’s prose bristles with cinematic energy in a tale of blood magic and the relationship between power and art.’ Biblioklept
  • ‘Slim, seductive, and packed with narco-world suspense.’ New York Magazine
  • ‘Simple but well- and carefully crafted, Herrera uses language and style particularly well; like the world it describes, Kingdom Cons is both pleasingly agreeable and deeply disturbing.’ Michael Orthofer, The Complete Review
  • Kingdom Cons, a drug trafficking novel and implicit criticism of drug trafficking novels, is a literary jewel.’ Jorge Volpi, author of In Search of Klingsor
  • ‘Mesmerising & stunningly crafted 5 stars!’ Rebecca Choudhury, Waterstones Birmingham
  • ‘Glorious . . . absolutely wonderful!’ Liv Hooper, Waterstones Exeter
  • ‘Razor sharp and inimitable – crafted in a way that resembles fable – Kingdom Cons is set in the wake of chaos around the border: the border between two particular countries, yes, but also between worlds, between possibilities, and between ways of seeing.’ John Ganiard, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor MI
  • ‘Yuri Herrera is a master of the literary arts. His ability to capture the mind’s eye and weave an indelible image and story is uncanny. This, his third novel, might be his best yet. In Kingdom Cons, Herrera delivers a stunning example of how art can dissolve boundaries and speak truth to power.’ Matt Keliher, Subtext Books, St Paul, MN
  • Kingdom Cons is revelatory. I think Yuri Herrera has created his own genre. The mix of high and low culture, the argot of the streets with the poetic narrative – it’s something else. Mexico as a hallucination.’ Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Praise for Yuri Herrera

  • ‘This marvellously rich, slim novel is working on many levels . . . Herrera’s metaphors grasp the freedom, and the alarming disorientation, of transition and translation . . . Translator Lisa Dillman has found a language both blunt and lyrical for Herrera’s many neologisms.’ Maya Jaggi, The Guardian
  • ‘Yuri Herrera [is] my favorite of the new Mexican writers.’ John Powers, NPR Fresh Air
  • ‘[Herrera is the] author of playful, prophetic, unnerving books that deserve to be read several times, with dialogue so telling it eats into your brain rather like the worm in the Redeemer’s preferred mescal, Herrera is a writer for our doomed epoch.’ Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
  • ‘Bracingly unbookish . . . The after-effect is more like that of a video game or Marvel comic, with both the brightness and unabashed flatness those entail. Darkly satisfying . . . Swift, slick images and one-liners glitter at regular intervals.’ James Lasdun, The Guardian
  • ‘Herrera packs his slim book with the sex, booze and nihilism of a better Simenon novella . . . Dillman brings out a gritty, pulpy flavor in the writing.’ Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
  • ‘Herrera’s brilliantly surreal turns of phrase mirror the strangeness of the world: he knows that brutal everyday truths are best revealed through dreams. Blood-soaked, driven deep and expertly written.’ Jeff Noon, The Spectator
  • The Transmigration of Bodies takes the conventions of gumshoe fiction and transfers them to a charnel-house world that makes nonsense of the genre’s habitual moral opposites . . . There’s plenty to admire about this allegorical vision of a country under lockdown, where violence and death have ceased to be the motors for fiction, instead becoming the backdrop of everyday life.’ Bookforum
  • ‘Yuri Herrera’s tiny, beautiful novels each conjure myth and metaphor from a contemporary experience in a precise location, transformed by archaic-colloquial prose.’ Lorna Scott-Fox, Times Literary Supplement
  • ‘Short, suspenseful . . . outlandish and heartbreaking.’ John Williams, New York Times
  • ‘The narrative invites reflection on the migrant experience and cultural difference; it also supplies the excitement of an adventure with gangsters, guns and false leads . . . Yuri Herrera combines a dreamlike setting with vigorous style.’ Anthony Cummins, Times Literary Supplement
  • ‘Mr. Herrera’s writing is poetic and defamiliarizing; translator Lisa Dillman has done well to capture his neologisms, which shift the setting into the surreal . . . In this legend-rich book, to immigrate is to enter forever the land of the shades.’ Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

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