Things We Lost in the Fire Stories by Mariana Enríquez

thingssource: ARC via AmazonVine
title: Things We Lost in the Fire
auhtor: Mariana Enriquez
published: Hogarth (February 21, 2017)
pages: 200
genre: short stories/fiction/mystery/suspense
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
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.

my thoughts:
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.

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Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

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source: free copy via AmazonVine
title: Under the Udala Trees
author: Chinelo Okparanta
published: September 22, 2015
pages: 328
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
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blurb:
Inspired by Nigeria’s folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls.

When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti’s political coming of age, Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees uses one woman’s lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.

my thoughts:
Narrated by Ijeoma, Under the Udala Trees starts off when she is just eleven years old and living in the war ridden republic of Nigeria in the late 1960’s.
When Ijeoma’s father is killed in an air bombing, her mother is left grief ridden and depressed, barely able to care for herself let alone her daughter. She sends Ijeoma off to live with a couple in another village. Ijeoma lives there almost two years before her mother comes back to get her. What she finds in this village is a friendship and eventually romantic feelings for a girl named Amina.

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The Diverse Books Tag

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Happy Sunday everyone. Lady Disdain tagged me to play along and participate in the Diverse Books Tag.

Here is more on the tag from The Diverse Book Blog ….

The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.

If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one. A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.

Everyone can do this tag, even people who don’t own or haven’t read any books that fit the descriptions below. So there’s no excuse! The purpose of the tag is to promote the kinds of books that may not get a lot of attention in the book blogging community.

Here is my list…..

 

“Find a book starring a lesbian character.”

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I haven’t read Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters but this book came to mind when I was getting my list ready. This is an author I have been meaning to read for some time.

A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King – oyster girl turned music-hall star turned rent boy turned East End ‘tom’.

Nan is captivated by the music hall phenomenon that is Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty’s dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they start an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.

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A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor

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source: Free review copy via AmazonVine
title: A Bad Character
author: Deepti Kapoor
published: Knopf (January 20, 2015)
pages: 243
first line: My boyfriend died when I was twenty-one.

Blurb:
A highly charged debut novel about a young woman in India, and the love that both shatters and transforms her.

She is twenty and restless in New Delhi. Her mother has died; her father has left for Singapore.
He is a few years older, just back to India from New York.
When they meet in a café one afternoon, she–lonely, hungry for experience, yearning to break free of tradition–casts aside her fears and throws herself headlong into a love affair, one that takes her where she has never been before.

Told in a voice at once gritty and lyrical, mournful and frank, A Bad Character is an unforgettable hymn to an exhilarating, dangerous city, and a portrait of desire and its consequences as timeless as it is universal.

My thoughts:
I found A Bad Character to be a unique read. The storyline follows a young woman living in New Delhi. Her mother died when she was just seventeen and she is left with her Auntie who is trying to secure a good marriage for her. The story flips back and forth to her past and present at age twenty when she meets a man and begins a love affair. He has visited New York and has experienced so much more than she has, which she envies him for.

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Adultery by Paulo Coelho

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Source: Free review copy via Amazon Vine
Title: Adultery
Author: Paulo Coelho
published: 2014
pages: 255
genre: fiction
first line: Every morning, when I open my eyes to the so-called “new day”, I feel like closing them again, staying in bed, and not getting up.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

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Blurb:
Linda knows she’s lucky.

Yet every morning when she opens her eyes to a so-called new day, she feels like closing them again.

Her friends recommend medication.

But Linda wants to feel more, not less.

And so she embarks on an adventure as unexpected as it is daring, and which reawakens a side of her that she – respectable wife, loving mother, ambitious journalist – thought had disappeared.

Even she can’t predict what will happen next…

My thoughts:

Having heard such wonderful things about Paulo Coelho I had been eager to read his work.
What I found within these pages was shocking on the surface, but as I kept reading and delved in a bit deeper, I found much more.

The story is narrated by Linda, who seems to have everything, a loving husband, two children, a successful career as a journalist and financial stability. The story is set in Geneva, Switzerland.

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