Review by Felice Arenas
An ode to, inspired by, or Western Unioned from the same morality-subverting center of its namesake’s films, Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino, Julián Herbert’s short-story collection, emerges from magical realism to crash the penumbra of the depraved. A photographer’s most gruesome work might be his unborn son. Smile! There’s a magnum opus in a conceptual artist’s mouth. Impersonate a literary great and make thousands of pesos to score crack. It’s obvious Herbert enjoys examining the corruption of his native land, Mexico—“there’s no human experience beyond the reach of a bribe” and “most Mexicans are genetically incapable of distinguishing between a criminal and a policeman”—and he excels at rendering memorable, oftentimes apologetic characters who dwell in tightly constructed worlds that feel weirdly unobjectionable and totally nuts at once.