Gabriela Ybarra

The Dinner Guest
  • The Dinner Guest

  • LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

    The Dinner Guest is Gabriela Ybarra’s prizewinning literary debut: a singular autobiographical novel piecing together the kidnap and murder of her grandfather by terrorists, reflecting on the personal impact of private pain and public tragedy.

    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.

    In 1977, three terrorists broke into Gabriela Ybarra’s grandfather’s home, and pointed a gun at him in the shower.

    This was the last time his family saw him alive, and his kidnapping played out in the press, culminating in his murder.

    Ybarra first heard the story when she was eight, but it was only after her mother’s death, years later, that she felt the need to go deeper and discover more about her family’s past.

    The Dinner Guest is a novel, with the feel of documentary non-fiction. It connects two life-changing events – the very public death of Ybarra’s grandfather, and the more private pain as her mother dies from cancer and Gabriela cares for her. Devastating yet luminous, the book is an investigation, marking the arrival of a talented new voice in international fiction.

Gabriela Ybarra was born in Bilbao in 1983. She currently lives in Madrid, where she writes and works in social media analysis. The Dinner Guest is her first novel and was published to critical acclaim in Spain, where it won the Euskadi Literature Prize 2016. Her work has appeared in publications such as El País, ABC and Revista Eñe.