Juan Pablo Villalobos

Down the Rabbit Hole

Shortlisted for the 2011 Guardian First Book Award

Shortlisted for the 2012 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize

Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo: a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, prostitutes, dealers, servants and the odd corrupt politician or two.

Down the Rabbit Hole, a masterful and darkly comic first novel, is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child’s wish.

About the Book

  • This third And Other Stories edition, published 2022, is in the Mexican ‘papel picado’ look of our series. It is by Elisa von Randow, the Brazilian designer whose beautiful designs for Villalobos’s Brazilian publisher Companhia das Letras we have adopted.
  • With an introduction by Adam Thirlwell.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole was shortlisted for the 2011 Guardian First Book Award and the 2012 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.
  • Read And Other Stories publisher Stefan Tobler’s 2012 thoughts on Juan Pablo Villalobos’ Guardian First Book Award shortlisting and the unprecedented success of And Other Stories’ first year of publishing here.
  • Readers of Spanish may be interested to read more reviews and other thoughts posted on Villalobos’ website.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole has created quite a buzz in the Spanish-speaking world and beyond. It was published in Spain in 2010 (Anagrama) and has been translated into many languages, including Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Romanian, Dutch and English.
Translator: Rosalind Harvey
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 12 July 2022
ISBN: 9781913505578


Ali Smith
The Telegraph

‘A pint-size novel about innocence, beastliness and a child learning the lingo in a drug wonderland. Funny, convincing, appalling, it’s a punch-packer for one so small.’

Adam Thirlwell

Down the Rabbit Hole is a miniature high-speed experiment with perspective … a deliberate, wild attack on the conventions of literature.’

Sarah Churchwell
New Statesman

‘That rarest of animals, a book that is, to all intents and purposes, perfect.’

Boyd Tonkin
The Independent

'Juan Pablo Villalobos, channeled Mexico’s drug wars via the voice of a narco-baron’s son in his touching and invigorating Down the Rabbit Hole.’

Nicholas Lezard
The Guardian

‘If you’re going to have an imprisoned child narrate a novel, then not so much as a word should be out of place. There are no such slips in Juan Pablo Villalobos’s debut novella. We have here a control over the material which is so tight it is almost claustrophobic. […] This is a novel about failing to understand the bigger picture, and in its absence we can see it more clearly.’

Jane Shilling
The Daily Mail

'Villalobos creates Tochtli’s half-corrupt, half-innocent world […] with a brilliant, tragi-comic light touch.’

Edward King
Sunday Times

‘The cumulative parodic effect is chillingly powerful.’

El Economista

‘A novel that breaks our hearts (which we knew were broken, but still hurt) and invites us to both laugh and think.’