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Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 118 books157k followers
November 9, 2018
Quite a compelling collection of short stories--quiet, gothic horrors really that exemplify the complexities, the small and great tragedies of the human condition. Quite a sharp edge in these stories and she has a lot to say about women, girls trying to be in the world, the confines of bad marriages, the ravages of poverty and addiction. Many of these stories exemplify what good horror stories are supposed to do.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
January 4, 2017
“What do you know about what really goes on around here, mamita? You live here, but you’re from a different world.”

3 1/2 stars. ^This is exactly how this whole book feels. I recognise the world in it; I suppose, in many ways, it's the one I live in... except it also isn't. It’s the dark spaces and the secrets hidden just under the surface of the world we know.

I can definitely feel the Shirley Jackson vibe. Enríquez has written a collection of Argentinian horror stories, full of atmosphere, suspense and ofttimes the grotesque. But, like Jackson, most of these stories are characterized by their ability to feel normal at first, to portray real life and real people, but create a sense of the unnatural beneath it all. It's an unsettling undercurrent running behind the main events of each story.

The author deftly weaves painfully human characters. Whether they be narcos, drug users or transvestites, they all come to life on the page, and in the intense, scary, manic and yet somewhat familiar world of the novel.

Some of the stories are stranger than others and those were perhaps my least favourite. The ones where the author ranked up the ick factor were almost too much for me. Gory descriptions of the insides of small animals is not my cup of tea. But these were in the minority. Others captured small circles and underbellies of our own world in an extremely intense and emotive way.

For example, "The Intoxicated Years". About those friendships so close, personal and intense that it's hard to separate yourself from the other person. This story chronicles a downward spiral into drug abuse over several years in the late 80s/early 90s. Intoxicating feels a deeply appropriate word, about more than just drug abuse - equally about the intoxicating nature of the relationships within, and the heady writing itself.

Others border on more traditional horror about haunted houses and things that go bump in the night. Yet, of course, Enríquez puts her own spin on it and nothing is ever quite so simple as a haunted house. Still, passages like this will give traditional horror lovers some chills:
“The house tells us the stories. You don’t hear it?”
“Poor thing,” said Pablo. “She doesn’t hear the house’s voice.”
“It doesn’t matter,” said Adela. “We’ll tell you.”
And they told me.
About the old woman, whose eyes had no pupils but who wasn’t blind.
About the old man, who burned medical books out by the empty chicken coop, in the backyard.
About the backyard, just as dry and dead as the front, full of little holes like the dens of rats.
About a faucet that never stopped dripping, because the thing that lived in the house needed water.

Frightening, dramatic, and impossible to look away from.

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Profile Image for María.
144 reviews3,070 followers
October 31, 2019
En general no me molan los libros que contienen relatos, nunca los acabo. Pero hago excepciones para leerlos de terror porque me flipa pasar miedo. Esos relatos suelen ser lo mismo una y otra vez, grotescos porque sí, una ouija por aquí, un fantasma en pena por allá, una garra de noche... Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego no es así. No es así para nada.

Me decían que Mariana era estupenda, yo pensé que exageraban. Bueno, me equivoqué y cuánto me alegro. No podía leer el libro de noche, tenía pesadillas, sus imágenes se me quedaban grabadas en el cerebro y sus palabras me susurraban la nuca poniéndome los pelos de punta. Menuda reina.
Profile Image for Bel Rodrigues.
Author 2 books19.3k followers
May 3, 2021
"eu me dei conta, enquanto o menino sujo lambia os dedos lambuzados, do pouco que me importavam as pessoas, de como me pareciam naturais aquelas vidas desgraçadas."

cara, que escrita SENSACIONAL. alguns contos me atingiram bem mais que outros, mas num geral, achei todos espetaculares em suas respectivas construções.
Profile Image for Repellent Boy.
488 reviews507 followers
February 8, 2021
Interesantísima lectura. En Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego, Mariana Enríquez nos presenta 11 cuentos, a cual más terrorífico. Me gustaron todos. Algunos más que otros, lo normal en un libro de relatos. Pero curiosamente, lo más crudos, y que me pusieron los pelos de punta, fueron los más realistas. Los que no incluían situaciones paranormales. En los que la ficción, podía ser superada por la realidad. En especial el último relato, el que da nombre al título, me ha dejado muy impactado. Aún no sé como sentirlo. Increíble la capacidad inventora y escritora de Mariana. Conseguía crear un aura perfectamente terrorífica y de pronto cambiar a otra historia y, en nada, crear otra completamente distinta, pero igualmente escalofriante.
Si tuviera que ponerle un pero, es que algunos relatos me dejaban con ganas de más, y les sentía un final algo brusco. Sin embargo, pretendo leer más de la autora.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
569 reviews3,943 followers
April 10, 2020
Una gran antología de relatos de terror. Si no le doy una mayor puntuación es porque no soy muy fan del género de terror y he terminado algo saturada de tanto mal rollo.
Aún así la mayoría de relatos me gustaron mucho, la autora tiene un estilo muy particular, logra generar inquietud y desaliento en el lector con muy pocas palabras, dejando mucho a su imaginación. Sus historias tienen un punto muy femenino y hablan desde el maltrato y la prostitución a la depresión... son todas ellas inquietantes e incómodas.
Recomiendo mucho la lectura a aquellos que disfruten del género y busquen historias muy apegadas a la realidad pero con toques fantasmagóricos.
Mis relatos preferidos fueron 'El chico sucio', 'Los años intoxicados' y 'Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego'.
Profile Image for Fran.
640 reviews587 followers
December 17, 2016
Ghosts, supernatural events, disappearances and revenge. "Things We Lost in the Fire" has it all. Focusing on myths and legends and set in the slums of Argentina, twelve eerie short stories aim to pull the reader into darkness and disquietude. Fans of horror will not be disappointed.

"Adela's House" was my favorite story. Adela, a spoiled, one armed girl with a stump at her shoulder, lives in an enormous chalet. Brother and sister, Pablo and Clara befriend her although neighborhood kids laugh at her. Pablo encourages Adela to explore an abandoned house nearby despite the fact that the windows are bricked up and the house appears to vibrate.

"The Inn" is a story of revenge. Our protagonist plans to scare the Inn owner after her father, a tour guide and star employee is fired from his job. Enlisting a friend's help, a wicked plan is hatched.

"The Dirty Kid" explores desperation and homelessness in poverty stricken Buenos Aires. It seemed "natural" that people were starving. The "haves" did not care about the "have- nots". Treating a hungry five year old to ice cream leads to an obsession.

"Things We Lost in the Fire" by Mariana Enriquez is a creepy-crawly read. In every story, the characters lives helplessly spiral to a dark epicenter and they emerge changed and haunted. An excellent collection of short stories.

Thank you to Penguin's First to Read program for the opportunity to read and review "Things Lost in the Fire".
Profile Image for PorshaJo.
453 reviews659 followers
September 6, 2017
Yikes! What a creepy, gruesome, macabre read. This one is a series of 12 short stories. The stories are told from unnamed cities in Argentina. The stories really are all over the place. From murder, torture, ghost stories, urban legend, haunted houses, superstitions, love and heartbreak, and more. Some stories are stronger than others, as is usually the case with short stories. Not every story is perfectly wrapped up either. I didn't find that disappointing, more of a wanting. I wanted to hear more as the story was so good.

I listened to this one via audio and the narrator was quite good. But considering the subject matter in the stories, it was probably not the best book to listen to via a speaker. My husband never questioned what I was listening to but I'm sure he's 'wondering what the heck'!

If you love good, creeepy stories, then this one is for you. If you are a horror fan, you might like this one. A perfect read for a scary Halloween night for sure. But probably not for everyone. If you are easily weirded out by the macabre, stories of child torture, murder, and mayhem, this is not the read for you. But if you can handle it, it's worth the read.
Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,340 followers
February 26, 2017
Things We Lost in the Fire is an awfully dark collection of short stories. These macabre stories are all set in contemporary Argentina. Many stories have a touch of unreality -- suggestions of ghosts and otherworldly beings. But the point of these suggested apparitions is to emphasize the horror of some aspects of contemporary Argentinian life -- extreme poverty, violence, drug addiction and crime. Often the central characters are middle class young men and women exposed to Argentina's dark underbelly -- and the hovering question is whether what they have seen is real or an apparition. Despite this common device and touch of unreality, the stories are very diverse in their characters and setting. I particularly liked a few of the longer ones:

-The Dirty Kid -- about the narrator's obsession with a street kid who disappears in her neighbourhood.
-Spiderweb -- about a women who goes on a trip with her unpleasant husband to visit a cousin
-The Neighbor's Courtyard -- about a disgraced social worker keeping an eye on a potential child in distress in a neighbour's yard
-Things We Lost in the Fire -- about a burn victim who holds audience in the subway

I recommend this to anyone who likes short stories and looks to literature to gain insight into different parts of the world. Don't be deterred by the surrealism -- it adds to the richness of these stories without overwhelming the narrative.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
Profile Image for Cartas de un Lector.
173 reviews3,464 followers
April 15, 2022


Estas historias no solo tienen lo característico del género de terror, tienen un toque realista que te hace creer que todo es posible.

Ha sido uno de los mejores libros de relatos que he leído, siendo uno de mis favoritos La casa de Adela.

Pero cada uno es especial a su modo, porque retratan lo terrible de una sociedad descompuesta. Además de que son ideas muy creativas y originales, cada una me sorprendió de manera distinta.

Me encanta los temas que aborda la autora y cómo construye las historias. En unas simples páginas, ya te atrapó e hizo que te quedaras con ganas de más.

Mi único contratiempo fue que no duran más lo relatoooooos. Cuanto daría por leer una novela completa de cada uno.
Profile Image for Taryn.
325 reviews299 followers
March 20, 2017
3.5 Stars. Twelve macabre short stories set in Argentina. It's very dark and disturbing.

We all walk over bones in this city, it’s just a question of making holes deep enough to reach the buried dead. (No Flesh Over Our Bones)

Tens of thousands of people were disappeared or killed from 1976 to 1983, when Argentina's military junta committed “crimes against humanity within the framework of [a] genocide.” While not overtly mentioned, the horrific tales in Things We Lost in the Fire are intertwined with Argentina's past. Past atrocities refuse to stay buried, always lurking in the back of the collective mind. These stories take place on top of mass graves. These stories feature police brutality, depression, drug addicts, poverty, self-harm, and children deformed by pollution. The shrines to saints on every corner make all of these horrors feel even more haunting.

Many of the characters are resigned to the awful events they witness. Some of them end up not helping those in need, either because of lack of resources or helping could lead to worse consequences for themselves. In "Green Red Orange," a man withdraws from the world and gets immersed in the deep web, where the worst of humanity is viewed as entertainment. Most of the characters are stuck in unhappy relationships. They resent their partners, but can't bring themselves to leave.

Except for the first story, my favorites were in the second half:

The Dirty Kid - A middle-class woman thinks the homeless boy who lives across from her home is the victim of a savage murder. She can't rest until she finds out if it's true. She regrets doing so little for the boy, despite witnessing the terrible conditions he lived in every day.

An Invocation of Big-Eared Runt (read it at link) - My favorite! A man who leads murder tours is fascinated by a long-dead child murderer. At home, he resents how his wife transformed into a different person after the birth of their child. The quiet ending left me feeling uneasy about this family's future.

The city didn’t have any great murderers if you didn’t count the dictators—not included in the tour for reasons of political correctness.

No Flesh Over Our Bones - A woman becomes obsessed with an abandoned human skull.

Under the Black Water - A district attorney investigates the case of two teenagers murdered by police officers. Months later, a witness tells her one of the victims has resurfaced. There's no way he survived, so she goes to investigate. When she arrives and sees all the shrines have disappeared, you know it's about to get terrifying! The nearby river's pollution is bad, but it might be covering for something even worse.

Things We Lost in the Fire - After a rash of domestic violence, women begin setting themselves on fire. The old women's conversation at the end chilled me to the bone.

“Burnings are the work of men. They have always burned us. Now we are burning ourselves. But we’re not going to die; we’re going to flaunt our scars.”

Honorable Mention:
The Neighbor's Courtyard - A depressed social worker sees a chance at redemption when she spots a chained boy in her neighbor's courtyard. I loved how the details of this story unraveled. It went from realistic to crazy at the very end, so I'm not sure what to think of this one!

I loved the mix of history and horror. My favorite stories were those where the line between real life and the bizarre was the most blurred. Enríquez was masterful at creating a creepy atmosphere and building tension. I could feel the knot in my stomach getting tighter as each story progressed. My biggest complaint is that many of the stories felt incomplete. The tension would reach a fever pitch and then it would just end. There were moments in each story that I loved, but many times I was left with a ton of questions and no theories to ponder. If you enjoy supernatural tales and the dark and twisty characters of Gillian Flynn or Roxane Gay (Difficult Women), you might enjoy this short story collection. I recommend reading it in the dark!

Another book that deals with Argentina during the late 70s:
The Case of Lisandra P. - It has mixed reviews as a suspense novel, but some of the most powerful sections are when people talk about their experiences during that time period.

I received this book for free from Netgalley & Crown Publishing/Hogarth in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!
Profile Image for M.  Malmierca.
323 reviews281 followers
September 28, 2022
A lo mejor él decidió que su tristeza iba a estar a mi lado para siempre, hasta que él quisiera, porque la gente triste no tiene piedad.

Tiempo ha estado Mariana Enriquez (1973-) en mi estantería esperando a que la leyera, principalmente por mi escaso interés por el terror, pero, después de terminar con su colección de relatos, Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego (2016), solo puedo decir que ha sido demasiado.

El libro contiene doce buenos relatos, de los que sobresalen el primero, El chico sucio (en mi opinión el mejor), y el último, el que da título a la colección. Solo por ellos ya merece la pena leer la obra. Dos relatos donde la crítica social sobre el abandono infantil y sobre la violencia hacia las mujeres es demoledora y ante los cuales nadie puede quedar indiferente.

Las quemas las hacen los hombres, chiquita. Siempre nos quemaron. Ahora nos quemamos nosotras. Pero no nos vamos a morir: vamos a mostrar nuestras cicatrices.

Historias de infancia y de juventud (contadas por mujeres) con un toque de misterio, de sorpresa, de curiosidad... Un homenaje a esa pasión por lo diferente, por lo desconocido que a todos nos despierta el interés. Los relatos que nos trae Mariana Enríquez están poblados de fantasmas, asesinos, esqueletos, casas encantadas, magia negra, supersticiones, etc., sin embargo, es el mundo real que nos muestra el que nos produce mayor horror. Una realidad como una pesadilla de la que no es posible despertar. Así tenemos el género de terror como espejo de ese otro terror cotidiano que todos conocemos, pero al que no damos la debida importancia, como si no tuviera que ver con nosotros. Este contraste creo que potencia y da unidad al conjunto de todos los relatos.

¿Qué pasó?
—Encontraron a una criatura.
—Qué te parece. ¡Degollada! ¿Tenés cable, amor mío?
A Lala le habían cortado la conexión por falta de pago hacía meses.

Enríquez escribe bien, con una prosa precisa y directa que a veces recuerda al realismo sucio, pero sin renunciar a lo trivial, a lo cotidiano e incluso, en esos mundos tan duros que nos presenta, se permite algunos toques de humor y de esperanza en la solidaridad (aquí quizá más exactamente sororidad). Otro punto a su favor son los escenarios, los ambientes a donde nos empuja la autora. Tan bien conseguidos (a veces incluso sin descripciones obvias) que logra que nos sintamos verdaderamente incómodos ante la gravedad de lo narrado.

Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego es un libro que recomendaría.

PD: Creo que van a rodar una película sobre el relato que da título al libro. Intentaré verla.
Profile Image for Ana Cristina Lee.
652 reviews246 followers
August 10, 2021
Mariana Enríquez es una de las escritoras actuales que están renovando el género del terror, herederas de Shirley Jackson, que incorporan en sus relatos el horror de lo cotidiano.

Aunque lo sobrenatural puede estar presente, prima la descripción de ambientes y barrios de la Argentina actual, una narración en que la autora se distancia de los hechos con una frialdad que nos espanta. En muchos relatos el protagonismo lo tiene la descripción del ambiente y los personajes – en su mayoría mujeres – mientras que el final a menudo nos deja cargados de interrogantes en vez de resolver el conflicto.

Ciertamente, Mariana tiene una voz muy poderosa y da una vuelta de tuerca a los estereotipos del terror, que aquí le sirven para hablar de temas como el maltrato de género o las diferencias de clase, así como de la angustia de los individuos y la soledad.

Como su otra recopilación Los peligros de fumar en la cama, esta es una colección de relatos que no deja indiferente
Profile Image for Blair.
1,770 reviews4,248 followers
June 23, 2020
Pandemic rereads #6

It's hard to believe it's been three years since I first read Things We Lost in the Fire. I don't have much to add to my original review below, but this reread has made me bump it up to the full five stars, so I thought I ought to say a bit about why. Most of all, it's that this book has stayed with me. I think about it all the time. I recommend it often. I remember the way certain stories made me feel, and I remember specific details from others. All surefire signs of a favourite.

My few original criticisms still stand: some stories end prematurely and/or glibly, and others (the title story in particular) are centred on rather unwieldy concepts. But the collection as a whole rises above these flaws. 'Adela's House' deserves to be regarded as one of the great modern horror stories. 'The Neighbour's Courtyard', 'The Dirty Kid', 'Under the Black Water' and 'Spiderweb' are excellent. A few I didn't love initially, including 'End of Term' and 'An Invocation of the Big-Eared Runt', gained power on a second reading. If you enjoy short stories, and particularly if you like them on the dark side, you must read Enríquez.


Original review (September 2017)

'Argentine gothic' is a fitting label for Things We Lost in the Fire. Ghosts, haunted houses and unexplained events appear throughout these stories, but they aren't necessarily horror as much as they are simply dark. Often suffused with the threat of real violence as well as supernatural terror, they touch on the hidden tensions and agonies of a country with a turbulent past roiling just beneath the visible surface. In this book, Argentina itself is haunted, a country haunted by history.

In 'The Inn', a character is sacked because he has been telling tourists the true history of the town's inn, something its owner is keen to conceal. In 'Spiderweb', a burning house is seen from a plane, and minutes later there is only scorched earth; a woman runs out in front of a car and disappears, and the driver later learns a nearby bridge is rumoured to contain the skeletons of those murdered and hidden by the military. In 'Under the Black Water', the Riachuelo river is made monstrous by years of pollution, tradesmen dumping waste and police dumping bodies. Several of the stories contain sudden disappearances that remain unresolved – uncanny echoes of the phenomenon of 'the disappeared' caused by the Dirty War.

My only complaint about Things We Lost in the Fire is that it suffers repeatedly from Premature Ending Syndrome. Time and time again, the stories cut off in what seems to be the middle of the most intriguing part, and end without explaining what has happened. In the best cases, as with 'Adela's House', this lack of explanation is itself a resolution, the absence of an answer being the most terrifying possible conclusion. In the worst cases, it feels like the stories have been erroneously published with bits missing. However, the quality of description and storytelling are so high that 'the worst' are still more than worth your time.

Beautifully translated, with a crisp style that makes it difficult to believe these stories weren't originally written in English, Things We Lost in the Fire is a powerful, memorable collection. Every story seems to have multiple layers, making them perfect for critical analysis and discussion. My favourites were 'Adela's House', 'Dirty Kid' and 'The Neighbour's Courtyard'.

Dirty Kid
A young woman, who we infer is middle-class, lives in her family's old home in what has become an unpleasant and dangerous neighbourhood. She often sees a woman who lives on the street with her young son. One day, the boy knocks on her door alone, and the narrator – reluctant to let him into her house – takes him to get ice cream. She later manages to reunite him with his mother, who reacts with rabid fury. The next day, a little boy is found raped, murdered and dismembered. The sheer horrifying violence of his death is a shock, and it heightens the narrator's sense of terrible guilt, her conviction (irrational in others' eyes) that the murdered boy is the 'dirty kid', as well as making a mockery of her romantic image of the neighbourhood. A startling opener to the collection.

The Inn
Florencia, a strait-laced teen, reunites with her friend Rocío; they plot to humiliate Elena, owner of the local inn, who has fired Rocío's father from his job as a tour guide. Part of the reason is that he's been telling tourists about the inn's dubious history as a police training academy during the dictatorship. When the girls sneak into the inn at night, they get more than they bargained for. As well as the menacing spectre of history, the terrifying experience they (and only they) endure works as a metaphor for Florencia's own fear of her burgeoning attraction to Rocío.

The Intoxicated Years
Scenes from the lives of three girls (children? teenagers? their ages aren't clear) between the late 1980s and early 1990s. The most interesting stuff seems to be happening in the background, just out of reach. Maybe that's the point, but I found this one a bit of a dud.

Adela's House
Little Carla and her 11-year-old brother Pablo befriend Adela, a girl in their neighbourhood who was born with one arm and is an object of disgust and mockery for other kids at school. After getting obsessed with gory movies, Pablo and Adela decide to explore a nearby abandoned house, bringing Carla along with them. This is a superb tale of weirdness, dread and nameless horror. Like Tomás Eloy Martínez in his novel Purgatory, Enríquez uses magical realism to elucidate the experience of losing someone without explanation, reason or conclusion.

An Invocation of the Big-Eared Runt
The protagonist works as a tour guide in Buenos Aires, telling tourists about the city's most famous serial killers (but not its dictators, though they are the most prolific murderers of all). Corporeal visions of a child killer become caught up with his resentment of his wife and newborn son.

An unhappily married woman visits family in the 'humid north'. Over the course of the trip, she becomes more and more convinced that she must leave her husband. Throughout the story, characters tell tales of strange things that have happened to them: disappearing figures, disappearing houses, dreams and visions of disaster. In the end, one of these strange incidents seems to befall the abhorred husband. Or is there a more ordinary, if just as horrifying, explanation? What is the 'misunderstanding' spoken of at the end?

End of Term
When Marcela, a previously unremarkable girl, starts to harm herself in gruesome and very public ways, her entire class is transfixed. The narrator is particularly fascinated – especially when Marcela tells her she sees and hears a man telling her to do these things. This feels like it could be a spooky story for children. It's macabre and has an effective jump-scare moment, but is a little thin.

No Flesh Over Our Bones
This story somehow feels distinct from the others; it's less gritty and has a stronger sense of detachment from reality, while still retaining the darkness that pervades the whole collection. To the disgust of her boyfriend and mother, the narrator brings home a toothless skull she finds in a pile of rubbish, naming it 'Vera', and becomes obsessed with it. Perhaps the most important line comes close to the end: 'We all walk over bones in this city, it's just a question of making holes deep enough to reach the buried dead.'

The Neighbour's Courtyard
Paula and Miguel move into a new house, one the owner is suspiciously anxious to let quickly. Paula is battling depression, exacerbated by Miguel's prejudice against the idea of medication and/or psychiatric treatment, and is haunted by memories of her former job as a social worker, from which she was fired after a lapse of judgement. So there are multiple horrors here: mental illness; the anguish of not being seen or understood by someone who's supposed to love you; guilt; and the expected macabre twist – Paula sees a naked, filthy child chained up in the neighbour's courtyard, but when she tries to show Miguel, there's nothing to see.

Similar to 'The Inn', where the source of dread is emblematic of history but also stands for Florencia's fear of her sexuality, here the figure of the boy seems like a physical manifestation of Paula's depression. Yet the ending subverts this. It's the opposite of 'Adela's House' – here the conclusive answer is the ultimate terror.

Under the Black Water
Marina is a district attorney investigating what she suspects is a police cover-up. She's visited by a girl from the Villa Moreno slum who tells her Emanuel, presumed drowned, actually crawled out of the heavily polluted Riachuelo river alive, but 'changed'. Chasing the truth behind this strange story, Marina goes to Villa Moreno herself, finding it oddly silent and watchful. I'd have liked this to be longer, but it has a fantastic atmosphere and is so vivid. Of all the stories, this would make the best film.

Green Red Orange
One of the weaker stories, this is the tale of a young man who locks himself in his room and refuses to come out. It's told from the perspective of a woman he talks to online – the only way he communicates with the outside world. This itself is not particularly interesting, though there are some standout passages, particularly the episode of the teacher who invents a daughter.

Things We Lost in the Fire
This could have come straight out of Camilla Grudova's The Doll's Alphabet, and it reminded me of her story 'Unstitching', in which women begin to shed their skins, and the act, performed en masse, comes to signify a sort of feminist revolution. Here, the women of an unidentified city are seized by a craze for self-immolation, aiming to make themselves grotesque and undesirable – a subversion of an earlier spate of attacks on women by abusive partners. The imagery is strong, but I found the message a bit heavy-handed, especially when compared with the more subtle symbolism of many of the preceding stories.
Profile Image for Emir Ibañez.
Author 1 book643 followers
January 25, 2018
Debo admitir que este libro me llevó bastante tiempo terminar... no porque fuera aburrido o porque no me gustara, sino porque la mayoría de sus cuentos me dejaron con una angustia y unos escalofríos tremendos. Soy muy cagón, no lo voy a negar. Sufrí mucho con estos relatos, pero los disfruté de igual manera. Háblenme de masoquismo.
Profile Image for Lark Benobi.
Author 1 book1,860 followers
August 20, 2021
I picked this up and read it through for a second time while waiting for Mouthful of Birds by another wonderful Argentinian author of the macabre, Samanta Schweblin. It's just as wonderful the second time through.

These stories feel both contemporary, and yet deeply connected with the magnificent stories of the macabre from past eras--stories that I have read over and over again, like The Monkey's Paw by Saki, and The Horla by de Maupassant, and The Most Dangerous Game by Connell, and anything ever written by Poe.

What is different about Enriquez's stories--startlingly, shockingly, eye-opening-ly different--is how deeply they reflect a female perspective. Female fears. Female dreads.

I say "eye-opening" because I never really took time to feel how masculine these old stories are until I read Enriquez's stories. I cut the old stories all kinds of slack because I read them as a child and they made me fall in love with reading. In many of my favorites, though, women might as well not exist--take "The Most Dangerous Game," a story about two men locked in a life-and-death battle for survival. Other old tales of horror might include women characters now and then, but the stories frequently hinge on, let's face it, misogyny or gynophobia--check out "Berenice" by Poe, for example, if you haven't lately:

I loved every story here, which is unusual for me--typically I'll like one or two stories in a collection at most and then I'll get bored by the sameness on some level. I was totally captivated by Enriquez's stories, and I'm delighted to have found a new contemporary author to follow.
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews671 followers
January 8, 2017
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

A macabre anthology of tales of madness, and of going mad. Stinking goats with red eyes, an abandoned house with a voice that tells its own stories, a box of dead birds hidden under a bed. Tales of self-mutilation, incessant nightmares of being chased by amputated legs and arms, a woman's obsession with a toothless human skull.

Set in present day Argentina, using a backdrop of pervasive heat and insanity, these stories are for well-seasoned readers of horror. Deliciously dark and disturbing. My favorites were No Flesh Over Our Bones and Adela's House.
Profile Image for Santiago.
172 reviews36 followers
March 21, 2021
Definitivamente Mariana Enríquez pasa a mi podio de autores favorites. Once cuentos cortitos pero contundentes, uno más turbio que el otro. Ninguno asusta pero sí te dejan bastante tocado.
February 24, 2020
Φ. Π.
Πρόκειται για μια ισχυρή και υποβλητική συλλογή απο δώδεκα εξαιρετικές, σύντομες ιστορίες,κυρίως ψυχικής και απεγνωσμένης εμπειρίας,
στην απαραβίαστη άβυσσο του ανθρώπινου μυαλού.

Μια ευφυέστατη ιδιωτεία,
που προσβάλλει πνεύμα και σώμα, δημιουργώντας συμπτώματα ατομικής και κοινωνικής παθολογίας,
στην γενική παθολογική πτέρυγα του ιδρύματος των αυτούσιων επικλήσεων και των προφητικών προσευχών.

Αυτή θα μπορούσε να είναι η διάγνωση της παραληρηματικής ασθένειας με τα σύνδρομα παράκρουσης, παραμιλητού,
ψευδαίσθησης- φαντασίωσης και εμμονικών ιδεών που συγκλονίζουν με τρυφερή φρίκη τον αναγνώστη.

Οι ιστορίες της Αργεντινής είναι συμπαγείς, δυνατές και ευανάγνωστες αφήνοντας μία μόνιμη συγκλονιστική εντύπωση.
Τα θέματα που απασχολούν την συγγραφέα είναι
κυρίως η απελπισία και οι αξιοσημείωτοι χαρακτήρες που βρίσκονται σε απόλυτα θλιβερές,αρρωστημένες, μίζερες και απονενοημένες καταστάσεις.

Σε κάθε μικρό-διήγημα
τα άτομα θεωρούν ή ότι είναι προικισμένα με κάποια μοναδική ιδιότητα, ή ενσαρκώνουν κάποια μοναδική ιστορική προσωπικότητα, εδώ αναφερόμαστε στο παραλήρημα μεγαλείου.

Κάποιοι άλλοι είναι πεπεισμένοι ότι συμβαίνει κάτι το ανεξήγητο ή καταστροφικό στο σώμα τους, στην υγεία τους, σωματικό παραλήρημα.

Όλες αυτές οι εμμονές μπορεί να είναι οργανωμένες,
ή και ανοργάνωτες, πολύπλοκες, λογικοφανείς ή εντελώς απίθανες και εξωπραγματικές.

Η ύπαρξη του παραληρήματος υποδηλώνει μία ανασφάλεια του εγώ, το άτομο αισθάνεται ότι κινδυνεύει από κάποιον ή κάτι και αυτό θέτει συνθήκες που μπορεί να θεωρηθούν μεταδοτικές και να επηρεάσουν την ψυχολογία του αναγνώστη.

Αντίθετα με τις εμμονές ενός ψυχαναγκαστικού ατόμου το παραλήρημα εμπλέκει το περιβάλλον με ένα τρόπο αρκετά ενεργητικό, συνήθως απειλητικό, κριτικό, ή υποτιμητικό.
Παρ’όλα αυτά το ύφος γραφής είναι απαλό,
επιδερμικό κάποιες φορές και σ��γουρα ανεπιτήδευτο, απαλλαγμένο απο φρικιαστικές σκηνές
ώστε να καταλήγει ήπια στο συμπέρασμα με κάθε επίλογο.

Σίγουρα εμπεριέχει μια δυνητική επικίνδυνη πεποίθηση και συναισθηματικά φορτισμένη υπερένταση πως η απώλεια των ορίων του Εγώ επιδρά έντονα σε άψυχα ή έμψυχα όντα του περιβάλλοντος μας.

Εν κατακλείδι, η διαύγεια και η απλή πεζογραφία
έρχεται σαν δώρο αναγνωστικής ανταμοιβής
αφού δεν υπάρχει πίεση για τα αποτελέσματα.

«Μη δίνεις τόσο εύκολα.
Δεν έχω θυμό μεσα μου.Δεν έχω έχθρα για κανέναν.
Όμως μεσα μου κοιμάται μια λύπη.
Πρόσεχε.Μην την ξυπνας.Η λύπη όταν την ξυπναν γίνεται ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ!»
Ουίλιαμ Σαίξπηρ

Καλή ανάγνωση.
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,802 reviews2,342 followers
December 10, 2016
Wow - what a stunning collection of stories!

Though there are ghosts, monsters, and demons, I hesitate to attach the horror label, as these are not traditional horror stories. Enriquez's tales do not gush blood, but there is a background noise of quiet dripping, a slow oozing away of precious bodily fluids. Her work is subtly unnerving, delicately disturbing; you are coaxed gently into each story not knowing what to expect. Afterwards, you don't so much leave the tale as back away slowly, shaking your head, unable to forget what you've seen.

I won an advance reading copy of this book through Goodread's First Reads Giveaways. It's due to be released on February 21, 2017. Write that on your calendar. Preorder the book.

And then, prepare yourself.
October 20, 2020
/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

Well...that was disappointing. Given the hype around this collection and the comparisons to Shirley Jackson, I was prepared to read some truly unsettling tales. However, as with a lot of other contemporary authors of horror, Mariana Enríquez relies on body horror, gore, and animal violence to instil feelings of unease in her readers...and while her stories are certainly macabre, I wouldn't call them gothic. The horror too was too splatter for me. Writing about bodily fluids, decomposing or mutilated bodies, doesn't necessarily make your story scary. While reading these rather samey stories I merely felt a knee-jerk repulsion. Most stories are narrated by morbid and unsatisfied young women who are experience, or have experienced, something truly horrific: they loose childhood friends to haunted houses, they start seeing disturbing things such as chained "deformed" children, or they loose themselves in violent fantasies. They had more or less the same grunge-esque personality and or were aspiring to become part of their country's counter-culture. I found their voices to be monotonous and, given all their attempts at subversiveness, surprisingly banal.

What frustrated me the most was the fact that not one of the story had a decent ending. I'm all for open endings, and I think that short stories suit ambiguous endings...but here the stories never reached their apex. Each story would have these ominous first few lines, foreshadowing the horrors to come...but then the stories seemed to cut off just when things start to get vaguely intriguing or disturbing.

Lastly, a lot of the stories relied on the appearance of "deformed" children or adults in order to unnerve its main characters...are we in the 1980s? Call me snowflake or whatever but I found the author's obsession with deformed bodies to be rather outdated.
Profile Image for Marie.
143 reviews44 followers
February 16, 2017
Wow! What a macabre, twisted way to get swept up in the life and culture of Argentina. I love when I read books outside my usual genres and get blown away by them. These short stories invoke living nightmares and nightmarish creatures that dwell just below the surface of normal life and enter into these stories in unexpected ways. There are ghosts of the past, horrific creatures, and a sense of the clairvoyance in these pages. Some of the descriptions within these stories brought to mind Stephen King’s writing, particularly “Adela’s House.” Certain descriptions of graffiti in repetitive patterns of letters that don’t seem to spell anything and the creature with teeth filed into triangles that eats Paula’s live cat in “The Neighbor’s Courtyard” are two other particular examples that felt Stephen King-esque to me.

The setting for these stories is in various cities in Argentina, including Buenos Aires, Lanus, and Corrientes. There is a sense of healing in the land, but there are horrors of the past lurking just beneath the surface. Natalia in “Spiderweb” saw a burning building which 10 minutes later was charred down to the earth. Someone else in that story saw a ghost rising from the cement of a bridge, within which dead bodies must have been hidden. In “Under the Black Water” a buried monster dwells in a polluted river, which people had been trying to cover up. Argentina’s Dirty War took place 1974 to 1983 and though it is not directly referenced in these stories, the horrors lurking just beneath the surface and these ghosts of the past are most certainly from that time.

There are many common themes that wind their way through these stories creating interest and intrigue. Many of the characters in these stories are depressed, sometimes overwhelmingly so to the point of not being able to work anymore, hurting themselves, and perhaps hallucinating. In one story “Green Red Orange,” Marco becomes locked in, not seeing people anymore. He only opens his door when no one is there to get the food his mother has left him. He only communicates with an old girlfriend via chat from his computer where he becomes obsessed with the deep web, where he can find the most horrific things.

Another theme running through many of these stories is dissatisfaction with boyfriends or husbands. The boyfriends and husbands in these stories are not loved or desired by the protagonist. They are depicted as being over-confident, arrogant, pig-headed and most importantly useless. The boyfriends or husbands end up disappearing or leaving by the end of each story. The final and titular story “Things We Lost in the Fire” begins with women being the subject of fires set by angry significant others. The women then begin to burn themselves in protest creating a world of disfigured women. This is a very disturbing brutal ending to this collection of stories.

There is obvious social commentary within the pages of these stories. The author is definitely a feminist. She has an interesting way of depicting wealth versus poverty and sane versus mentally unstable. She definitely delves into a world of darkness and demons, most of us do not think about. She recognizes horrors within her stories, that don’t even pertain to the main story, but are issues with the society at large. In “Spiderweb” the soldiers at the Paraguayan restaurant with their large guns are harassing the waitress and are likely going to rape her, however, any intervention would get the narrator and Natalia raped. However, the greatest social commentary I feel is directed at the horrors of the Dirty War, and how the ghosts of that time still haunt the people of Argentina.

Each story, thrilling and terrifying, ends on a cliffhanger. You, the reader, are left not knowing, still wondering, what was truth and fiction, and where things will go from there. I highly recommend this collection of short stories from a gifted and talented Argentinian writer! It will make the hair on your arms stand up.

Thank you to net galley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For discussion questions, please see:
Profile Image for Fuchsia  Groan.
162 reviews196 followers
November 26, 2018
Por la noche, cuando trato de terminar trabajos atrasados y me quedo despierta y en silencio para poder concentrarme, a veces recuerdo las historias que se cuentan en voz baja. Y compruebo que la puerta de la calle esté bien cerrada y también la del balcón.

No soy una gran lectora de relatos, a pesar de que en los últimos tiempos he aprendido a apreciarlos y he aceptado que, quizás, el adjetivo “irregular” sirva para definir la mayoría de las colecciones. En Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego, unos relatos son magníficos y eclipsan a los demás, pero todos merecen la pena. Con alguno he llegado incluso a sentir ese pequeño pellizco de inquietud que hacía tanto que no sentía al leer una historia de este tipo.

Situados en la Argentina actual, y, con una única excepción, narrados desde una perspectiva femenina, Mariana Enríquez recrea la realidad sociopolítica de la historia reciente del país. En todo momento están presentes su pasado y su presente, sus ciudades con sus barrios, sus creencias. Pero los terrores narrados son universales.

La colección contiene doce relatos, sugerentes, inquietantes y efectivos. La atmósfera es asfixiante, y el terror, sutil, proviene de la realidad cotidiana, de la marginación, la superstición, la miseria, las drogas, la autodestrucción, de matrimonios infelices, de la desigualdad, de asesinos de niños, del machismo, la locura, la violencia, la dictadura. Los elementos sobrenaturales están presentes siempre, pero son escasos, son el medio, la manera de plasmar la realidad.
Profile Image for Alejandra Arévalo.
508 reviews1,294 followers
December 5, 2017
Mi primer acercamiento a Mariana Enríquez fue más innolvidable de lo que esperaba. Cada uno de sus cuentos es curioso y extraño, maneja un ¿terror? urbano donde lo fantástico roza con la realidad pero al mismo tiempo deja al lector cuestionándose si es parte de la imaginación de los personas o realmente el mundo es aun más macabro de lo que parece. El último cuento es una aportación brillante para la literatura mundial, de verdad, no se lo pueden perder.
Profile Image for Mon.
249 reviews218 followers
January 2, 2022
Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego es una recopilación de relatos de Terror que van desde lo cotidiano hasta rozar lo sobrenatural.

A mediados de 2021 caí en la cuenta de que casi no había leído autores latinos salvo algunos con obvias influencias anglosajonas, pero yo quería leer algo escrito por latinos que se sintiera como Latinoamérica, así que empecé a buscar autoras que escribieran sobre temas de mi interés (que lea todos los géneros no significa que lea sobre todos los temas), la cosa es que, durante mi búsqueda, me topé con las entrevistas que le hicieron a Mariana Enríquez en distintos canales de YouTube y fue la primera vez que me interesó primero la autora, porque de verdad que es una persona interesante, y después la obra. Por lo mismo me daba algo de miedo leer uno de sus libros y descubrir que me gusta más como persona que como autora, no fue hasta que un amigo me leyó parte de este libro que me decidí a leerla.

Los primeros dos relatos no me cautivaron, en algún momento incluso me pregunté si realmente quería seguir leyendo. Los relatos tienen su buena cantidad de palabras y yo, cuando se trata de compilaciones, prefiero los relatos breves. Sin embargo, el tercero —Los años intoxicados—, me cerró la boca y de ahí todo fue subiendo y subiendo de nivel.

Mariana Enriquez tiene la capacidad de hacerte sentir intrigada acerca de la parte más oscura de sus personajes y lugares, porque aquí, en todos estos cuentos, no solo son inquietantes las cosas vivas, sino también los sitios que son testigos de cada acto monstruoso. Eso sí, es poco probable que este libro le guste a un fan del terror sobrenatural, porque aunque sí que hay elementos sobrenaturales no son "lo importante", lo importante aquí es la forma en la que los pensamientos de los seres humanos se pueden retorcer.

No soy de calificar cada relato por separado, pero si tengo que elegir a mis favoritos son, sin duda, El patio del vecino y Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego. El primero porque adoro las criaturas incomprendidas y el gore; el segundo porque me pareció un relato que refleja, de una forma un tanto exagerada, cosas que vivimos en la actualidad, y porque puedes ponerte a reflexionar durante días sobre qué significa realmente que leerlo se sienta tan personal.

Le doy 4.5, porque esos primeros dos relatos no son la gran cosa y tampoco reinventan nada, y la verdad no creo releer el libro.

La gente triste no tiene piedad.

Él a mí no quería matarme, nada más quería tratarme mal y quebrarme para que odiara mi vida y no me quedaran ni ganas de cambiarla.
Profile Image for Juan Naranjo.
Author 2 books2,351 followers
March 27, 2022
Como otros grandes nombres de la historia de la literatura, Mariana Enríquez tiene algo que puede ser una bendición y, también, una maldición: ha escrito un libro que muchos lectores consideramos una obra maestra. Eso hace que todo lo suyo lo tengamos que comparar, queramos o no, con «Nuestra parte de noche». Y, por muy buenas que sean estas otras obras, siempre van a parecer pequeñas al lado de ese monstruo enfermizo que puebla nuestras pesadillas y nuestros más melancólicos suspiros.

«Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego» es una forma de profundizar más la perturbadora psique de esta autora. Es maravilloso ver cómo en estos relatos aparecen algunas imágenes, algún personaje, algún hecho que después maduraría y se transformaría para volver a salir en su obra más famosa. Como en cualquier libro de relatos, unos gustan más que otros. Y, aunque no me ha gustado el remate de todos ellos, sí que no ha habido ninguno que no me haya parecido realmente interesante. Y eso no es poco. Además, la autora ofrece una perspectiva indudablemente social y ¿femenina? ¿feminista? de todos los temas que trata, y es algo que aporta muchísimo valor e interés a su literatura.

Este libro está bien para introducirse en el universo de Enríquez o para luchar contra el mono después de haber leído su obra más famosa. Es muy disfrutable y en él se encuentran muchos de los dones de la autora. Pero, sobre todo, me ha interesado porque estas fueron las cosas que Enríquez tuvo que escribir para que en su cabeza, poco a poco, se fuera fraguando la historia de Juan y Gaspar.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,058 reviews410 followers
April 11, 2021
La forma de escribir de esta autora me gusta, si bien este libro de historias cortas me ha dejado con ganas de más, de extender los relatos, que en algunos casos se acaban de forma abrupta.
Como ocurre casi siempre en este tipo de libros, unos te gustan mas que otros, mi puntuación de cada relato:
El chico sucio 3/5
La hostería 1/5
Los años intoxicados 2/5
La casa de Adela 5/5
Pablito clavo un clavito 4/5
Tela de araña 3/5
Fin de curso 2/5
Nada de carne para nosotras 2/5
El patio del vecino 4/5
Bajo el agua negra 3/5
Verde rojo anaranjado 2/5
Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego 3/5
Profile Image for Cláudia Azevedo.
270 reviews116 followers
February 25, 2020
Brutal, chocante, violento, assustador, doloroso e, no entanto, obstinadamente necessário. O terror e a violência moram ao virar da esquina e quantas vezes somos nós que estamos do outro lado. Mariana Enríquez desenha a negro, com palavras incisivas como facas, esse terror individual ou coletivo do outro diferente, doente, louco, pobre, marginal ou marginalizado, supostamente violento, que se insinua e se imiscui no esquecimento dos dias normais.
Um murro certeiro.
Profile Image for jenny✨.
563 reviews805 followers
January 29, 2021
“Burnings are the work of men. They have always burned us. Now we are burning ourselves. But we’re not going to die; we’re going to flaunt our scars.”

In clear, readable prose, Enríquez—and her translator, McDowell—write vivid imagery, capturing Argentina in vignettes, in violence, in understated supernatural happenings.

This is atmospheric gothic horror that will transport you straight to the gritty, thriving world of contemporary Argentina. These are ghost stories, mainly: haunted houses and disappearing girls, spirits of people who died and disappeared on the land the characters tread—a former police academy-cum-torture centre, a bridge built on dead bodies buried to be hidden.

There is something of the folkloric in each story, often with a touch of grotesque body horror, even as they delve into real-world terrors: poverty and addiction; corruption, police brutality; violence against women; rivers poisoned with pollution.

This context is integral to Enríquez’s storytelling. As McDowell says in the translator’s note:
A shadow hangs over Argentina and its literature. Like many of the adolescent democracies of the Southern Cone, the country is haunted by the specter of recent dictatorships, and the memory of violence there is still raw. Argentina’s twentieth century was scarred by decades of conflict between leftist guerrillas and state and military forces… Generations, including Mariana Enriquez’s, have lived their early years under the yoke of dictatorship and come of age in democracy.

In the first story, a woman living in Constitución, Buenos Aires, becomes invested in a “dirty kid” who lives outside her home; his disappearance strikes fear in her heart. Later, three teenage girls come of age with drugs and a fixation on another girl who disappeared in Parque Pereyra. The Argentinian serial murderer of children, Cayetano Santos Godino, appears as a spectre haunting a tour guide who resents his newborn son. One woman is trapped in a stifling, loveless marriage; after a trip across the border to Paraguay and a night of ghost stories, this is no longer the case. And in the eponymous story, my favourite story, Argentinian women begin to set themselves on fire for reasons that baffle—and cannot be stopped by—men and the authorities.

Each of Enríquez’s characters comes face to face with bleakness that does not have clear-cut paths forward, if any at all; it is a disturbing, unsettling feeling.

For me, however, my rating was a matter of personal taste. Though I can’t deny the stories wormed their way under my skin, they also either concluded somewhat anticlimactically or felt unfinished to me; for this reason, I am giving this 3.5 stars.
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