Cannibal

A powerful tale … a wry criticism of American culture.” Brooklyn Rail
“Well-written book full of delightful surprises… that truly rare thing — a comedy with heart.” Literal Latte

“A devilishly delicious and disorienting novel. Food, sex, ghastly travel experiences, tantrums, Cannibal has it all, along with one of the most peculiar versions of the family triad in literary years.” Joy Williams, Pulitzer Finalist and winner of the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts.

“Discoveries of individual existence in a great city illuminated by a keen observer and the women who cross, or linger on, his path.  David Winner has a clear bright eye and as fine an ear for what is poignant as for what is absurd.  I look for more of his profane comic sense.” Shirley Hazzard, National Book Award author of The Transit of Venus and The Great Fire.

“David Winner’s Cannibal of Guadalajara is a terrific novel.  It is high comedy – both sharp and sympathetic in its precise description of attitudes and manners– and painfully funny in its well-timed outbursts. And yet another aspect I admire — the range of age of the characters.  Winner can do smart (though occasionally foolish) middle-aged female, difficult young guy, even more difficult old guy as well as a host of minor characters from scampering children to a crusted octogenarian.” John Casey, National Book Award author of Spartina.

“Is it about ruptured families and their reframing? About Latin and North America commingling by way of Manhattan and Mexico, in a mess of nightmare and dream? Or have we a fine and bumpy ride, comic and yet catch-in-the-throat, through the surprises of sex and romance in a hitherto undemonstrative woman now nearing 60? The answer, as you’d expect in a thwacking sweetheart of a novel, is all the above. Small wonder that its turning points generally arrive, with a satisfying bang!, during expansive and complicated meals. Small wonder that expectations about who will wind up with whom, and why, get delightfully upended. For all the control with which it’s written—always at distance enough for a smile, but never enough for a smirk—The Cannibal of Guadalajara proves anything but a finicky eater.”  John Domini, author of The Tomb on the Periphery and judge of the 2009 Gival contest.

Coming soon from  Gival Press

Literal Latte
Brooklyn Rail

Forward Magazine
The Cannibal of Guadalajara
David Winner
Gival Press
978-1-928589-50-1

Families come in all shapes and sizes; sometimes they sneak up on us fully formed. This is what happens to Margaret Heller after her divorce. Just as she’s settling into the rather lonely routine of a single person, she finds herself the center of an unorthodox version of a family.

As a lover, Dante Herreras isn’t such a great catch. His bevy of emotional problems make spending time with him an exercise in tension, and his style of coupling can be a turnoff. Inevitably, the attraction between Margaret and the younger Dante fizzles. But Dante and his welcoming family refuse to be abandoned. An excursion to Guadalajara for the birthday party of Dante’s uncle and childhood tormentor cements the new ties between Margaret, her ex-husband, and Dante, and they find themselves settling into the roles of parents and child, roles they had no idea they needed.
Winner, who won the Gival Press Novel Award, writes with great cunning and precision. A few of the scenarios his characters find themselves in—face down in a resplendent episode of masturbation among jungle plants, drinking martinis in the kitchen of old friends while a lover smashes antiques upstairs—border on ridiculous, but with grace, humor, and a steady hand, Winner transforms embarrassing moments into the briefest of epiphanies. Margaret, Dante and Alfred are as human as they possibly can be.

Andi Diehn

Profile in Daily Iowan – click here

Review in New York Newsday – click here