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Kingdom Cons

Translated by Lisa Dillman

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, Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera questions the price of keeping your integrity in a world ruled by patronage and power.

Described as ‘Mexico’s greatest novelist’, Yuri Herrera has followed up The Transmigration of Bodies and Signs Preceding the End of the World with an extraordinary story about passion and violence, about the vital role of the Artist in our society, and about the strangeness of our world.


Sydney Morning Herald
LA Review of Books
Otago Daily Times

Yuri Herrera
About the Author

Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera studied Politics in Mexico, Creative Writing in El Paso and took his PhD in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, Signs Preceding the End of the World, was published to critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many Best-of-Year lists. He is currently teaching at the...

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3 July 2017
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Praise for Yuri Herrera
andKingdom Cons

‘Herrera creates a radically new language and condenses into a few pages what other authors need hundreds to convey…a surprising literary jewel’

‘Mexico’s Yuri Herrera is a rare thing: a writer to get truly excited about…It is writing that is simultaneously concise and epic, dynamically plotted and intelligent, aware of literary heritage and stunningly original…This is writing that demands and deserves attention.’

‘Yuri Herrera is Mexico’s greatest novelist. His spare, poetic narratives and incomparable prose read like epics compacted into a single perfect punch—they ring your bell, your being, your soul.’

‘Yuri Herrera must be a thousand years old. He must have travelled to hell, and heaven, and back again. He must have once been a girl, an animal, a rock, a boy, and a woman. Nothing else explains the vastness of his understanding.’

‘Yuri Herrera has been described as Mexico’s greatest living novelist…Believe the hype.’ 

‘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 offence. Put them to shame. Why else be an artist?”’

‘At one point in Kingdom Cons The Artist boasts, “If you’re saying what happened, why bother with a song? Corridor aren’t only true; they’re also beautiful and just.” He may come to realise how his corridor can be used to other ends, but Herrera’s novels stay beautiful and just.’

‘Kingdom Cons rises above a mere tale of lost innocence or a drug-land eulogy, specifically because it is the language and not the narrative that powers its subject. Herrera’s writing reinvents its own territory with simultaneous streetwise mischief and canonical splendour. At times a Renaissance quill, at other times a tattier’s needle, his syntax misbehaves masterfully, and Lisa Dillman proves herself once again exquisitely loyal to his lyrical disobedience with this translation, its prose so alive that it recalls Roland Barthes’s description of “language lined with flesh”.’

‘His [Herrera’s] books are bracingly taut, his skill with concision impressive.’

‘Kingdom Cons is captivating in that Yuri Herrera has seemingly wandered off into the deserts of the genre and has come out on another shore of a different planet…crime is mentioned with a side-glance, the role of power is beheld at close attention, and the language itself is short, poetic, elliptical.’

‘With his signature palpable lucidity of the uncanny he [Herrera] blends crime romance with elements of surreal fable.’

‘I would really recommend reading this author, he’s fantastic.’

‘Kingdom Cons is another great novel from a writer at the top of his game, and is a must read for any fans of Latin American or world literature.’ 

‘Herrera’s fable dives into the murky role of art in a fiefdom marked by endemic violence and the ruthless pursuit of power. It presents Mexican cartel culture through an almost surreal blend of medieval romance and hardboiled noir, and will rivet and disturb a broad readership, from crime fiction fans to lovers of Latin American literature.’

‘[Yuri Herrera’s novellas] constitute one of the most astonishing bodies of work to have made it into English from any other language in the last couple of decades.’ 

‘Although this novella is set in contemporary Mexico, you could be forgiven for thinking Kingdom Cons was a fable from some ancient time. All the ingredients are there: a kingdom with a ruthless ruler…the bowing and scraping courtiers…the gossip and political intrigues…Mexican-born Yuri Herrera is a master of spare, wise-cracking lingo with a hint of the surreal. Well worth reading.’

‘Herrera cracks open the souls and brains of his protagonists and exposes the constant shifts inside, the hopes and fears, the jarring translations of language, being, and culture…Mexico has given the world many great writers, and Herrera is now holding that torch.’

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