Things We Lost In The Fire: Stories by Mariana Enriquez is a collection of short stories that explore different facets of life in contemporary Argentina. Chilling and dark, these stories absolutely have a Shirley Jackson vibe. Gothic literature at its finest, these are filled with paranormal elements, dark and gloomy setting in the Argentinian slums and broken characters needing to be rescued.
I don’t read a lot of short story collections, but I was completely engulfed in this one. I love how they can be left out and picked up and put down when the mood strikes. However, with this one, the chances of you putting it down are slim.
When the very first story alluded to a human sacrifice, I was obsessed. The stories following continued to deliver wave after wave of unsettling storytelling.
Adela’s House and Things We Lost in the Fire were two of my personal favourite stories.
I am always looking to add some diversity into my reading collection and this collection delivered that element; set in the Argentinian underbelly, I loved how this blended horror elements like ghosts and supernatural beings along with realistic horrors in everyday life such as extreme poverty, corruption and even child abuse that is prominent there. As much an entertaining piece of fiction as it is a social commentary, Enriquez critiques and amuses merging realism and idealism. Each ending is completely open and up for interpretation. It would not surprise me to see this collection added to the syllabus of a number of courses for higher education. There is that much depth.
Overall, I loved these stories and would recommend them highly!