Down the Rabbit Hole

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Length doesn’t always equate with depth. One of the best works of fiction I’ve read in the last year clearly prove that point

The novella ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ by Juan Pablo Villalobos tells its tale from the point view of a Mexican child, Tochtli, who’s father just happens to be on the verge of running the nation’s largest drug cartel.

The beauty of using the child as narrator of this type of story is obvious.  Here is a person who looks to adults to shape his moral worldview. Yet what do you do when the worldview presented to you is anything but moral?

You try and justify it to yourself because if adults are telling you that’s its ok to kill and torture and sell drugs, well then it must be, even though somehow you don’t feel quite right about it.

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The child’s unease comes out through a constant undiagnosed stomach pain. It’s a symptom of his huge anxiety that he is fearful of acknowledging for then he would be like the man who wet himself when tortured, ‘a faggot’.

Even when his father tries to do something nice for him like going to Liberia to buy an African Pygmy Hippopotamus for his private zoo, the animal dies and the boy has to be content with the animal’s head mounted on his bedroom wall.

This simple terrifying symbol twists the memory of childhood into something grotesque. It also leaves us wishing the book were a lot longer. Here is a world authentically that of a child but a child who happens to be trapped in hell.

 

 

 

 

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