This compact novel contains a dinner party hosted by an eccentric, a zombie apocalypse, and a complicated mother/son relationship. Sophisticated & ridiculous. Erudite & very funny. Cesar Aira is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.— Morgan
Was it a nightmare—the result of a bad case of indigestion—or did something truly scary happen after dinner in the Argentine town of Coronel Pringles?
One Saturday night a bankrupt bachelor in his sixties and his mother dine with a wealthy friend. They discuss their endlessly connected neighbors. They talk about a mysterious pit that opened up one day, and the old bricklayer who sometimes walked to the cemetery to cheer himself up. Anxious to show off his valuable antiques, the host shows his guests old windup toys and takes them to admire an enormous doll. Back at home, the bachelor decides to watch some late night TV before retiring. The news quickly takes a turn for the worse as, horrified, the newscaster finds herself reporting about the dead rising from their graves, leaving the cemetery, and sucking the blood of the living—all somehow, disturbingly reminiscent of the dinner party.
About the Author
CÉSAR AIRA was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina in 1949, and has lived in Buenos Aires since 1967. He taught at the University of Buenos Aires (about Copi and Rimbaud) and at the University of Rosario (Constructivism and Mallarmé), and has translated and edited books from France, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela. Perhaps one of the most prolific writers in Argentina, and certainly one of the most talked about in Latin America, Aira has published more than 100 books to date in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, and Spain, which have been translated for France, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Romania, Russia, and the United States. One novel, La prueba, has been made into a feature film, and How I Became a Nun was chosen as one of Argentina’s ten best books. Besides essays and novels Aira writes regularly for the Spanish newspaper El País. In addition to winning the 2021 Formentor Prize, he has received a Guggenheim scholarship, and was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos prize and the Booker International Prize.
Katherine Silver's award-winning translations include works by María Sonia Cristoff, Daniel Sada, César Aira, Julio Cortázar, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Ramón Ribeyro. The author of Echo Under Story, she volunteers as an interpreter for asylum seekers.
Aira will put knots in your brain.
— Ben Ratliff - The New York Times Book Review
Aira’s works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredicatbility is masterful.
— Rivka Galchen - Harper's
Aira’s output has been a steady tickle of irrefutable genius and deepening strangeness.
— Publishers Weekly
Dinner is far more intelligent than your average zombie tale…Aira adds extra depth to what lies just beneath the surface.
— Jessica Loudis - The Times Literary Supplement
Humor goes from surface to bottom of Dinner.
— Jeff Bursey - The Quarterly Conversation