Deep Vellum is a non-profit publisher that primarily publishes works of translation. I purchased a ten-book subscription, e-book and paperback bundle. My total was $103, so they come out to about $10 for each book and I get both the e-book and paperback. They mail two books every two months. You can read my previous Deep Vellum book subscription reviews.
This month’s book was The Golden Cockerel & Other Writings by Juan Rulfo. The meat of this book was a novella called The Golden Cockerel, which followed a Mexican man who accidentally got involved in cockfighting after rescuing an incredible cock. That was fun to write!
His luck seems to be tied to one particular beautiful, cold woman. The novella follows him through many years as his luck rises and falls and he continues to live a life that’s entirely focused on gambling.
This felt very much like a folk tale and I think anyone who likes folk tales would like it. My favorite part of it was that immediately after the novella, there is a five-page synopsis of the novella written by the author. Not sure what that was about, but I wish some of the other Deep Vellum authors had done this!
As the title spoils, there are other writings included. Some full poems, a few very short stories (like two pages) and some excerpts from longer pieces. I actually ended up liking these additional writings more than I liked reading about the magnificent cock he rescued.
Rating: 9/10. Not my favorite book from Deep Vellum but it was 100% successful at being a funny / cute / fucked up folk tale, which I believe is what the author was trying to accomplish.
Recommended for: Adults who like folk tales; kids who hide the books they’re reading from their parents.
Does it pass the Bechdel–Wallace test? No.
Author of color / main character of color / female author / female main character: yes / yes / no / no