source: ARC via AmazonVine
title: Things We Lost in the Fire
auhtor: Mariana Enriquez
published: Hogarth (February 21, 2017)
genre: short stories/fiction/mystery/suspense
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.
Things We Lost in the Fire is a quiet, intense and at times disturbing collection of 12 short stories. I dipped in and out of this one intermittently. I’ll cover a few of the stories here in my post.
The Dirty Kid was about a woman who lives in an old house handed down to her by her family. The neighborhood in Buenos Aires which used to be nice, is now seedy and riddled with crime. A five-year old child and his drug addicted mother are homeless and sleep on dirty mattresses in the neighborhood. The narrator here cannot help but become involved and tries to help the five-year old.
No Flesh Over Our Bones was about a woman who finds a human skull in bad condition underneath a tree and runs home with it. She soon becomes obsessed with the skull to the point where it ruins her relationship with her boyfriend. I liked that this one had an unreliable narrator and I wished this creepy story were longer. This was one of my favorites in the collection.
Things We Lost in the Fire was about a movement among women who called themselves the Burning Women. After so many women were burned on purpose by their boyfriends and husbands, women decided to burn themselves first instead in protest.
“Everything was different since the bonfires started. Just a few weeks earlier, the first surviving women had started to show themselves.”
End of Term was about a girl named Marcela who was a wallflower at school until she began mutilating herself in front of students. Marcela later tells a schoolmate there is an invisible man who is making her do these things to herself.
Author Mariana Enriquez is a talented writer, I found myself easily drawn in as I read her stories. Some of them read like horror, some were about mental illness, while others had a touch of the supernatural. A few of these stories left me wanting more. Overall, Things We Lost in the Fire was an interesting read.
About the author:
Mariana Enriquez is a writer and editor based in Buenos Aires, where she contributes to a number of newspapers and literary journals, both fiction and nonfiction.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my free copy of Things We Lost in the Fire via AmazonVine.