Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2018.
The story goes that in my family there's an extra dinner guest at every meal. He's invisible, but always there. He has a plate, glass, knife and fork. Every so often he appears, casts his shadow over the table, and erases one of those present. The first to vanish was my grandfather. Gabriela Ybarra first heard about her grandfather's kidnap and murder by terrorists when she was eight. Through snippets of stories and family conversation, she made up her own version of the events behind the handcuffs on the mantelpiece. But after her mother's death, she felt the need to go deeper. She searched the internet and visited newspaper archives, taking notes, discovering her family's past. In this autobiographical novel Ybarra tries to understand her relationship with death and its emotional aftermath, both through public acts of terrorism and the more private pain of cancer. Shot through with tenderness, and told with an honesty entirely devoid of self-pity, The Dinner Guest is a deep, emotional punch. From her uncle searching among the hydrangeas after his father has been taken away by men with submachine guns, to google-imaging her mother's surgeon before her first appointment, this is a devastating yet luminous novel, heralding an exciting new voice in international fiction.