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.
Juxtaposing the grotesque and the banal, Aira builds a subtle satire about society’s draining effect on individuals.
—The New Yorker
Aira has crafted a beautiful, unclassifiable, funny, and deeply unsettling book.
—Sebastian Boensch, The Miami Rail
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
It seems that the dead are rising from their graves on a “cadaverous march” — thousands of them feasting on the living in scenes of grisly violence. Since this is a novel by the wildly imaginative (and prolific) Argentine writer César Aira, that means that the outlandish plot turn will prove meaningful rather than gratuitous.
—Carmela Ciuraru, The New York Times
Humor goes from surface to bottom of Dinner.
—Jeff Bursey, The Quarterly Conversation
Aira’s output has been a steady trickly of irrefutable genius and deepening strangeness.
Aira will put knots in your brain.
—Ben Raitliff, The New York Times Book Review
Aira’s works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredictability is masterful.