Juan Pablo Villalobos

I’ll Sell You a Dog

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 gruelling 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 neighbours, tortures American missionaries with passages from Adorno, flirts with the revolutionary greengrocer, and in short does everything that can be done to fend off the boredom of retirement and old age . . . while still holding a beer.

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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Paperback: £10.00
EBook: £5.00

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  • If you had subscribed to And Other Stories before 9th December 2015, you would have received the first edition of the book – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication, as well us up to five other And Other Stories titles per year. Find out about subscribing to upcoming titles here.
  • Read more about Juan Pablo Villalobos on our author pages.
  • I’ll Sell You a Dog chosen for New York Times editors’ picks.
  • Read more about Juan Pablo Villalobos’s other works: the Guardian First Book Award shortlisted novel Down the Rabbit Hole and the ‘gloriously absurd’ Quesadillas.
Print status: Available
Translator: Rosalind Harvey
Original language: Spanish
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 4 August 2016
ISBN: 9781908276742
Ebook ISBN: 9781908276759
Availability: World
Number of pages: 256


Alberto Manguel
The Guardian

‘One of the wittiest, most whimsical, most enjoyable novels to have been published in Spanish for a long time. The excellence of Villalobos in this English translation is due of course to the skill of Rosalind Harvey, who has also seamlessly rendered the varieties of Mexican Spanish into different tones of English, preserving their endemic nature without turning the characters into cross-dressed Cockneys or Liverpudlians.’

Angel Gurria-Quintana
Financial Times

‘A triumph of quirky humour and social observation.’

Lili Wright
The New York Times

‘Comic capers abound . . . savagely funny.’


‘Our hero [is] what would happen if the serious young poet at the beginning of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives grew up to run a taco stand and watch too much Curb Your Enthusiasm . . . Villalobos has a light touch, and perfect narrative control. He doesn’t lean too hard on his jokes and he doesn’t push a single character into caricature . . . I’ll Sell You a Dog is a satire, but it’s full of affection for art and for artists. Most of all, it’s a reminder that art comes from real people.’


'A wry, sardonic romp made even more vibrant by its various satires and absurdities . . . [Villalobos] takes on Mexican history, literary theory, and the just-scraping-by lives of the 99 percent, all while telling a damn good story.’

Publishers Weekly

‘Villalobos is a kind of miniature Proust . . . The affable I’ll Sell You a Dog finds lost time not in grand narratives but in the idle chatter of neighbors.’

The Big Issue

‘Few authors write with such highly strung and poetic exuberance as Juan Pablo Villalobos. I’ll Sell You A Dog continues his trend for ridiculous characters, black comic satire and reverence for traditional Mexican dishes . . . share and enjoy!'