The 10 stories in Mexican author Julián Herbert’s new collection, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino (translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney), offer a hearty/heady dose of narcoviolence, sex, and an almost absurdist imagination. Herbert’s strong prose, acerbic wit, and unflinching foray into peripheries funny, fantastical, and ferocious, mirror the darkness of a world increasingly out of control. A must-read for fans of Roberto Bolaño and Santiago Gamboa’s fiction, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino juxtaposes the zany and the sincere. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Virtuosic stories by one of “the more interesting and ambitious prose stylists of our time” (Los Angeles Times)
In this madcap, insatiably inventive, bravura story collection, Julián Herbert brings to vivid life people who struggle to retain a measure of sanity in an insane world. Here we become acquainted with a vengeful “personal memories coach” who tries to get even with his delinquent clients; a former journalist with a cocaine habit who travels through northern Mexico impersonating a famous author of Westerns; the ghost of Juan Rulfo; a man who discovers music in his teeth; and, in the deliriously pulpy title story, a drug lord who looks just like Quentin Tarantino, who kidnaps a mopey film critic to discuss Tarantino’s films while he sends his goons to find and kill the doppelgänger that has colonized his consciousness. Herbert’s astute observations about human nature in extremis feel like the reader’s own revelations.
The antic and often dire stories in Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino depict the violence and corruption that plague Mexico today, but they are also deeply ruminative and layered explorations of the narrative impulse and the ethics of art making. Herbert asks: Where are the lines between fiction, memory, and reality? What is the relationship between power, corruption, and survival? How much violence can a person (and a country) take? The stories in this explosive collection showcase the fevered imagination of a significant contemporary writer.
"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." Publishers Weekly
"Herbert... is a deft explorer of the darker corners of Mexican society... The title story is a tour de force... [Herbert is] a writer worth seeking out." Kirkus Reviews
"Electrifying... 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." Shelf Awareness
"[A] rising star... [Julián Herbert] absolutely nails sour, blustery men... The results are both entertaining and corrosive, disturbing and socially relevant, sordid and sleekly accomplished." Library Journal
“[Herbert’s] books are mash-ups of memory, investigation and fictional ornamentation, marked with a fond disrespect for genre — much like life.” The New York Times
“One of the most indispensable and widely read authors of contemporary Mexican literature.” Los Angeles Review of Books
About the Author
Julián Herbert was born in Acapulco in 1971. He is a writer, musician, and teacher, and is the author of The House of the Pain of Others and Tomb Song.