Magazine article New Internationalist

Kingdom Cons

Magazine article New Internationalist

Kingdom Cons

Article excerpt

Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera translated by Lisa Dillman (And Other Stories, ISBN 0781908276933)

Yuri Herrera's Kingdom Cons is a straightforwardly allegorical tale about the relationship between art and power. Its protagonist, a talented songsmith known to us only as 'the Artist', ingratiates himself to a political strongman ('the King') with obsequious folk ditties, but finds his loyalties tested by the machinations of a rival mob intent on wresting power. His dilemma is neatly summarized in an exchange with a writer ('the Journalist'), who observes: 'Seems to me like you're pure passion, and if one day you have to choose between your passion and your obligation, Artist, then you are truly fucked.'

First published in Spanish in 2008, this English edition of Herrera's slim novella is notable for Lisa Dillman's translation, in which narrator and characters alike speak in a contemporary street vernacular redolent of gangster rap. …

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