Friday, March 17, 2017

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories, Mariana Enriquez, 202 pages.

Enriquez's collection consists of twelve stories that are all set in Argentina (though in one the characters take a day-trip to Paraguay). The first three have their characters dealing with odd, disturbing, sometimes frightening circumstances, while the fourth, "Adela's House," is pretty much a horror story. You can't tell from story to story what you are going to get. Throughout the collection, horror creeps all of the stories in varying degrees,sometimes it's more of an everyday horror, but the stories are all told forthrightly; a strange child with sharpened teeth, eating the family cat is only one of the issues the protagonist in "The Neighbor's Courtyard," must deal with.The women who tell these tales navigate the obvious dangers, men, drunken soldiers, crime-ridden neighborhoods, and asshole boyfriends, but also have to deal with strange houses, possible loss of sanity, crack smoking neighbors, and boyfriends (asshole or no) who disappear without a trace (while on a trip to Paraguay).
The stories are rich, layered, and unsettling. I would say that along with Otessa Moshfegh's Homesick for Another World, these are the best short stories that I have read in the last two years.
Definitely worth a read.

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