A novel by Rodrigo Márquez Tizano, translated by Thomas Bunstead

November 5, 2019 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 160 pages • 978-1-56689-563-7

In this hallucinatory novel of ruin and reconstruction, a man and his lover search for closure while a virulent plague hastens disaster in the world around them.

In a chaotic city, the latest in a line of viruses advances as a man recounts the fated steps that led him to be confined in a room with his lover while catastrophe looms. As he takes inventory of the city’s ills, a strange stone distorts reality, offering brief glimpses of the deserted territories of his memory. A sports game that beguiles the city with near-religious significance, the hugely popular gambling systems rigged by the Department of Chaos and Gaming, an upbringing in schools that disappeared classmates even if the plagues didn’t—everything holds significance and nothing gives answers in the vision realm of his own making.

The turbulent and sweeping world of Jakarta erupts with engrossing new dystopias and magnetic prose to provide a portrait of a fallen society that exudes both rage and resignation.

About the Author

Rodrigo Márquez Tizano (Mexico City, 1984) is a writer. He has been the editor in chief of VICE magazine in Mexico and Argentina and is a founding editor of La Dulce Ciencia Ediciones, a publishing imprint dedicated to the world of boxing. He received his MFA from NYU and is completing a PhD at Cornell University. Jakarta is his first novel.

Thomas Bunstead has translated some of the leading Spanish-language writers working today, most recently The Optic Nerve by María Gainza and The Nocilla Trilogy by Agustín Fernández Mallo. His own writing has appeared in publications such as the Paris Review Daily, the Times Literary Supplement, and the White Review. He is an editor at the literary translation journal In Other Words.


“Mind-blowingly original, powerful and stark prose, captivating rhythm, and haunting, memorable imagery. Tizano is a master of the uncanny.” —Valeria Luiselli

“Tizano fashions an original, astonishing, and terrifyingly unhinged dystopia...Thomas Bunstead adds to an impressive resumé with a seamlessly literary and peppery translation from the Spanish.” —The Millions

Jakarta is a remarkable book, a layered exploration of a devastated world unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Patiently, strangely, these interconnected fragments reassemble into a nightmarish and beautiful hum—one meant to be experienced, not described. Let me press this apocalyptic book into your hands and say: Prepare.—Colin Winnette 

Jakarta is what all novels should be and few are: a cultural narrative, a trace of unhinged civilization where individuals function like particles, suffering everything while aspiring to nothing but the cruel, unnoticed, even unwarranted heroism of the great anonymous histories.” —Sergio Chejfec