Like those of Kafka, Poe, Leonora Carrington, or Shirley Jackson, Amparo Dávila’s stories are terrifying, mesmerizing, and expertly crafted—you’ll finish each one gasping for air.
With acute psychological insight, Dávila follows her characters to the limits of desire, paranoia, insomnia, and fear. She is a writer obsessed with obsession, who makes nightmares come to life through the everyday: loneliness sinks in easily like a razor-sharp knife, some sort of evil lurks in every shadow, delusion takes the form of strange and very real creatures. After reading The Houseguest—Dávila’s debut collection in English—you’ll wonder how this secret was kept for so long.
“Each of these stories is equal parts Hitchcock film and razor blade: austere, immaculately crafted, profoundly unsettling, and capable of cutting you. Amparo Dávila is Kafka by way of Ogawa, Aira by way of Carrington, Cortazár by way of Somers, and I’m so grateful she’s in translation."—Carmen Maria Machado
Amparo Dávila was born in Mexico in 1928. She has published several collections of short stories and for a time worked as Alfonso Reyes’s secretary. In recent years a massive resurgence of interest has acknowledged her as one of Mexico’s finest masters of the short story. Awarded the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize in 1977, she was honored with the Medalla Bellas Artes in 2015.
A former Mellon Public Scholar, Audrey Harris holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic languages and literatures from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Matthew Gleeson is a writer, translator, and co-editor of Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2010 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.