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Down the Rabbit Hole Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
It documents the sad and brutal, yet unknowing loss of childhood. This lack of awareness from the child's perspective lends frequent humour to the choice of language, its context and how events are interpreted.
Innocence affords the reader regular opportunity to identify with the child's misplaced view of the world, but ultimately a sense of hopelessness pervades his life.
There are other conventional themes that go with the territory of a narco-novel: mindless violence, the drug lord father’s inability to engage with his son emotionally and to compensate with absurd gifts, the subsequent and elaborate psychological destruction of his child, misogyny, conflict between the political state and drug cartel and betrayal.
Convincingly and experimentally written, I would recommend this read for a fleeting literary high.
Juan Pablo Villalobos (and Rosalind Harvey the translator) have got Tochtli's voice spot on. This child's obsessions (hats and Liberian pygmy hippopotamuses among other things), petulant scorn, and relish in words like 'sordid', 'immaculate', and 'enigmatic', are amusing and charming. The reader, however, is also aware of the loneliness of Tochtli's life and the dangerous undercurrents of his father's business. A sense of unease, which sometimes turns into outright horror, is present throughout.
I very much enjoyed this novella (ideally read in one sitting) and I felt immersed in its world, admiring what Villalobos reveals through the voice of his naive narrator. "Down the Rabbit Hole" which is the first publication of the small press And Other Stories is nicely presented and comes with both a glossary explaining some of the Mexican references and an introduction by Adam Thirlwell.
This is an imaginative but bleak parody of the predicament of a child, subject to a distorted socialisation, deprived of the company of other children so unable to relate to them, indulged by having his every material whim satisfied, even to the extent of being taken to Liberia to capture a pair of the pygmy hippopotami with which he has become obsessed, bored by the narrow repetition of his daily life. His only real moment of closeness with his father is when the latter says that one day Tochtli will have to kill him to save his honour i.e from gaol, like a samurai in one of the violent films they love to watch.
Something of a "one trick pony" in the essential point made, the book can be read too quickly for you to worry that you may have wasted your time.
Tochtli isn't your average nine year-old, he's lived in isolation from the rest of the world, apparently all his life, he lives in the middle of an emotionless world, where he can count the number of live people he knows and he's well aware that people turn into corpses for reasons he cannot understand. His is a selfish, self-centred existence, that of a little prince, whose life is devoid of any notion of love, but full of possessions, demands and whims.
So the novel is original and different, and Tochtli is weirdly diverting company, but that's all. This is a novel set in a Mexican drug cartel that says nothing about drugs, corruption or violence, except to portray the latter, off scene, as a normal part of life. This is a novel about a child, that says nothing about childhood and a novel about selfishness that refuses to do anything other than highlight it. For me 'Down the Rabbit Hole' needed to go somewhere morally, to make some kind of judgement about its weirdness, rather than be content to be modern day Alice in Wonderland, just looking wide-eyed, like a child at this strange world someone else calls normal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent short story! The ending had me in fits of laughter and giggles. Thanks to the author for giving me a grin and lifting my spirits. Read morePublished 8 months ago by MR J M LEWIS
I really can't understand why this brilliant little jewel of a book hasn't had only five star reviews. Read morePublished on 25 Feb. 2015 by Reader
Short but powerful. Strange, and unsettling. Like the film, Pan's Labyrinth, it owes something to Alice in Wonderland, in that it also features a dispossessed child trying to... Read morePublished on 11 Oct. 2014 by Jakk54
This quirky book draws a very intriguing picture of life for a child reared on the edge of society.
Told in the boys own words I found it quite fascinating.
Could be definitely tagged interesting at first reading, but I have to say I found the storytelling quite irritating in the end. Read morePublished on 1 Dec. 2013 by Dv
This book seemed to promise much more than it delivered The perspective of the young boy is interesting at first but soon palls. read to the end on principle but was not enthralledPublished on 8 Oct. 2013 by purpleartist44
a bit of a misfit for me between serious topic and child's naive understanding and expression of it all. An ok read thoughPublished on 3 Oct. 2013 by a purchaer
Life with a South American drug baron through the all seeing but not all comprehending eyes of his 10 year-old son. Read morePublished on 27 Aug. 2013 by JK
Dident think much about this book so i realy would not recommend it.Dont now what else to say.You should not tell people how much they should say about a book. Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2013 by Mrs Patricia R Grant