'I don't expect anyone to believe me,' warns the narrator of this
novel, a Mexican student called Juan Pablo Villalobos. He is about
to fly to Barcelona on a scholarship when he's kidnapped in a
bookshop and whisked away by thugs to a basement. The gangsters are
threatening his cousin-a wannabe entrepreneur known to some as
'Projects' and to others as 'dickhead' - who is gagged and tied to
a chair. The thugs say Juan Pablo must work for them. His mission?
To make Laia, the daughter of a corrupt politician, fall in love
with him. He accepts . . . though not before the crime boss has
forced him at gunpoint into a discussion on the limits of humour in
literature. Part campus novel, part gangster thriller, I Don't
Expect Anyone to Believe Me is Villalobos at his best. Exuberantly
foul-mouthed and intellectually agile, this hugely entertaining
novel finds the light side of difficult subjects - immigration,
corruption, family loyalty and love - in a world where the
difference between comedy and tragedy depends entirely on who's
telling the joke.
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