The Cannibal of Guadalajara

David Winner

Winner of the Gival Press Novel Award - 2009.
Honorable Mention, Beach Book Festival Award for Fiction - 2011.
Finalist in the National "Best Books 2010" Awards for Fiction & Literature: Multicultural Fiction

David Winner’s debut novel The Cannibal of Guadalajara, winner of the 2009 Gival Press Novel Award, is a powerful tale of an unlikely ménage-à-trois between Alfred (caught in the stranglehold of a mid-life crisis), his ex-wife Margaret, and a disturbed young man from Brooklyn. The book reads like a fable told by an omniscient, tenderly ironic narrator; the tone fluctuates between discreet indulgence in the characters’ foibles and a drier, more distanced sort of wit. The divorce propels Alfred to Latin America on a soul-searching quest-of-a-lifetime and Margaret to a teeming singles bar downtown, where she meets the considerably younger Dante, who turns out to be crippled by post-traumatic flashbacks to his Mexican childhood. Winner’s controlled language is interspersed with adroitly incongruous adjectives that illuminate the absurdities he presents in ways that are psychologically subtle and often hilarious. But it’s also a book about American culture seen through the eyes of a writer who has spent enough time traveling through Latin America to alter his frame of cultural reference enough to identify and appraise that peculiar brand of American expatriate whose most ardent wish is to be reborn as Che Guevara." - Andrea Scrima

"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.... Winner, who won the Gival Press Novel Award, writes with great cunning and precision... Winner transforms embarrassing moments into the briefest of epiphanies. Margaret, Dante and Alfred are as human as they possibly can be." - Andi Diehn, Debut Fiction ForeSight Feature in the May/June 2010 issue of ForeWord Reviews


David Winner

David Winner was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and educated at Oberlin and the University of Arizona (Master's of Fine Arts). As a child, Winner was taken to Europe several times, though mostly to Italy where members of his family (passionate Italophiles though not actual Italians) have often lived. Almost by accident in the summer after his final year at college, he found himself traveling for the first time to Mexico. Speaking only minimal Spanish and having only minimal knowledge of Mexican culture, he took long bus rides through steep mountain roads, met some huge insects and howling monkeys. On the way back, he and his American traveling companions glimpsed magical names on the flight board: Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogota. A few years later, he saved a thousand dollars and spent it traveling for six months in South America: from Ecuador down through Chile and across to Brazil, passing through Paraguay in the wake of a military coup, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia. Speaking Spanish a tad better, he had adventures and misadventures (versions of which appear in his writing) and developed a love of Latin America that has persisted to this day. Now, he teaches at a community college, lives in Brooklyn and writes fiction. The Cannibal of Guadalajara came not only from his love of Latin America but his interest in unconventional family arrangements, for which he likes to use fiction (rather than his own relatively ordinary marriage) to explore. David Winner has received two Pushcart nominations and first prize in The Ledge's 2003 Fiction Contest. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, Fiction, Confrontation, Cortland Review, Staple, Dream Catcher, Phantasmagori, KGB, and several other literary magazines in the USA and the UK. A film based on a short story of his was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, and he's the fiction editor of The American, a magazine based in Rome, Italy.