El hombre sin cabeza

The Decapitated Man

El hombre sin cabeza

In Huesos en el desierto, Sergio González Rodríguez achieved international recognition for his brilliant recounting of the brutal and systematic slaying of women on the border between the USA and Mexico; crimes that are still unpunished to this day. Now, in El hombre sin cabeza, he has woven a narrative web with multiple cultural and political resonances focusing on the phenomenon of extreme violence in the world today: decapitations carried out by murderers working for the Mexican drug cartels and by violent Muslim fundamentalists, both available for viewing on the Internet or on other media. As this book argues, in East and West, the act of decapitation represents the most extreme form of atrocity: the loss of reason in its most quintessential form. The author also studies the phenomenon of witchcraft and the human sacrifices linked to drug traffickers, used to intimidate and strike fear in rivals, and the use of human bodies as cruel messages with a loud echo, as well as the emergence of a criminal cult called ‘the Santa Muerte’. This book is a non-fiction tale that uses journalistic resources, like the true confessions of a hit man and decapitator, mixed together the perspective of the book’s narrator, creating a refined alternation between reportage and essay mixed with autobiographical details, where analysis of decapitations in art and cinema reveal the central anomalies of the culture of fear that is consuming the planet. El hombre sin cabeza is proof that good journalism can reach the level of contemporary history and then transform itself into an exceptional literary work.

"An implacable radiography of contemporary horror and violence in Mexico. El hombre sin cabeza puts a shiver up your spine. It is both reportage and essay, as well as the penetrating personal vision of Sergio González Rodríguez, which lays open the corruption at all levels of a country in a terrible situation". Livres Hebdo

"It wouldn’t be unreasonable to see El hombre sin cabeza as a lateral and unexpected epilogue to 2666, the literary mirror through which Bolaño tried to see the socio-cultural horizon with which the author of Los detectives salvajes would have liked to dream”. (Leonardo Tarifeño, La Nación)


  • France (Passage du Nord Ouest)
Sergio González Rodríguez

Sergio González Rodríguez

Sergio González Rodríguez (Mexico City, 1950-2017) was an essayist, writer and critic. In 1992 he was joint runner-up for the Premio Anagrama de Ensayo with his book El Centauro en el paisaje. In 2002 he published Huesos en el desierto, in this collection, which was a finalist for the International Literary Reportage Prize Lettre Ulysses 2003 in Germany. His books have been translated into Italian, English and French. He was awarded, among other, the Casa Amèrica Catalunya Prize for Freedom of Expression and the National Fernando Benítez Cultural Journalism Prize.


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