The Dinner Guest

by Gabriela Ybarra

I was deeply moved by this auto-fictional novel, feeling a connection to people who were hitherto unknown. Split into two parts, this is a young woman's meditative response to events in her family's past - the kidnapping and execution of her grandfather and her mother's death from cancer. Reading like a memoir, the text is dotted with media articles, photographs and notes. Perhaps not for those who like a traditional narrative, but I loved it.


My mother's death brought back my grandfather's death. Before it, the killing was just a pair of handcuffs in a glass case next to the bronze llamas that my parents had brought back from Peru. The tedium of illness recalled the tedium of the wait during the kidnapping. My father began to talk about blood-stained rosaries. It would be months yet before I could understand his pain.
Translated by Natasha Wimmer


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