Welcome to Klail City, in Belken County, along the Mexico border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. In the weeks leading up to the Democratic primary, Jehu Malacara chronicles the political rabble-rousing of Klail City’s wealthiest citizens in letters to his cousin Rafe Buenrostro. Led by Arnold “Noddy” Perkins, the who’s who of Belken County create a complex web of relationships. Wrangling bank loans, club memberships, and local politics, Perkins dominates the political and economic landscape of the community.
When Malacara turns up missing, and the writer, P. Galindo, begins interviewing the citizens, tales of deceit and betrayal float to the surface. From Jehu’s knockout girlfriend Ollie to up-and-coming socialite Becky Escobar and even to old man Perkins himself, Hinojosa offers a feast of quirky characters and misdeeds.
Part epistolary, part mystery novel, the population of Klail City makes an indelible impression. With an introduction by Hinojosa scholar Manuel Martín-Rodríguez, a professor at University of California – Merced, this volume combines for the first time the English and Spanish-language versions of the novel that creates a fictitious community that The New York Times compared to William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha and Gabriel García Márquez’s Macondo.