Everyone loves a feel-good story about a successful family business. Unfortunately for Juan Pablo, the protagonist of I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me, his cousin Lorenzo’s business ventures are not faring as well as they might. That much is clear when, invited to a meeting with Lorenzo’s associates, he finds his cousin tied up and then has to watch as his brains get splattered across the walls.
Juan Pablo, fair-haired scion of an upper-middle-class Mexican family, had been looking forward to focusing on his dissertation on humour in Latin American literature at university in Barcelona. Instead he plunges deep into the Catalan demimonde on a mission to woo his heiress classmate, infiltrate her powerful family and avoid suffering his cousin’s fate at the hands of his vengeful erstwhile associates.
You’ll have noticed the protagonist shares a name with the author. This is no accident. Like the Juan Pablo of the novel, Villalobos hails from Guadalajara and studied for his doctorate at Barcelona’s Universidad Autónoma. The novel is peppered with references to the genre of autofiction – otherwise associated with