Introduction to Kingdom Cons (Trabajos del reino)

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Over the past decade, narcotics-trafficking has profoundly affected Mexican society: corruption, violence and increasing militarization are some of its consequences. Literature, too, has begun to reflect this reality. Some border writers have explicitly explored the impact of the drug world on the everyday lives of Mexicans, particularly in the crime fiction genre. One prime example can be seen in Élmer Mendoza’s (Culiacán, 1949) novels, in which a more or less honest cop becomes mixed up in an intrigue that brings to light just how deeply drug trafficking has penetrated all levels of society.

A new generation of writers, however, is seeking out different perspectives and new approaches. The following is an excerpt from Trabajos del reino / Kingdom Cons (Editorial Periférica, Madrid, 2008), Yuri Herrera’s first novel. It tells the story of Lobo, a poor corrido (ballad) composer and accordionist who one day has a chance encounter with a drug lord in a cantina. The incident will change his life. With this novel, Yuri Herrera immerses readers in the inner world of the cartel with lyrical, at times almost baroque language. Trabajos del reino / Kingdom Cons received the “Border of Words” US-Mexico Cross-Border Novel Prize in 2003.

Yuri Herrera: Kingdom Cons
translated by Lisa Dillman

About the Author

Horacio Castellanos Moya is the senior contributor to Sampsonia Way. A novelist and emeritus writer-in-residence at the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Born in Honduras in 1957, he grew up in El Salvador. He has lived in Guatemala, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico (where he spent twelve years as a journalist, editor, and political analyst), Spain, and Germany. In 1988 he won the National Novel Prize from Central American University for his first novel. His work has been translated into five languages. He has published eight novels. The English translation of his novel Senselessness was published in June 2008 by New Directions. He was the second exiled writer-in-residence at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh and has resided there since 2006.

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