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.Read an Excerpt
- Read about Yuri Herrera’s other books, Signs Preceding the End of the World and The Transmigration of Bodies, and A Silent Fury: The El Bordo Mine Fire.
- Yuri Herrera writes about the very real problem of corruption in the Government of Mexico for PEN Atlas
- You can also read The Skinny’s interview with Yuri Herrera
- Patti Smith loves Yuri‘s Signs Preceding the End of the World and Kingdom Cons.
The New York Times
'I was captured by Kingdom Cons, by Yuri Herrera. His writing style is like nobody else’s, a unique turn of language, a kind of poetic slang... seeming to fall in my hands from an alternative sky.'
The Wall Street Journal
‘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?”’
National Post (Canada)
‘Evocative of a very real – and very fraught – milieu . . . the novel burns through plot and features bursts of terse lyrical reverie.’
'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.’
‘A powerful and memorable meditation on the social and economic value of art in a world ruled by the pursuit of power.’
The Big Issue
‘[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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
W. S. Lyon
The Los Angeles Review of Books
‘The novel soars where legend and fine detail merge into something original and true.’
Financial Times Summer Reads
‘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.'
Booksellers on Kingdom Cons
‘Mesmerising & stunningly crafted 5⭐️!’ Rebecca Choudhury, Waterstones Birmingham ‘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