Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez (BOOK REVIEW) 4/5
Another star of a novel by Mariana Enriquez! I loved her novel “The Dangers of Smoking in Bed”, and quickly bought “Things We Lost in the Fire” when I discovered it was, similarly, a novel of Buenos Aires based horror stories. Giving it the same score as the previous novel, I find that Enriquez doesn’t disappoint with her cleverly woven, uniquely strange horror. While I still found the problem of the previous novel, some of the stories not ending well or leaving more to be desired, I realize this is likely just my personal take on them. I enjoyed this novel just as much as the first, and took away several stories that will stay with me.
“The Dirty Kid”, the first story of the novel, is one of those that sticks in the mind. Incredibly heart-wrenching, it starts things off with a dark, sinister note. The next two stories to follow, “The Inn” and “The Intoxicated Years”, did nothing for me. They just didn’t land, I went through them with nothing significant to enjoy. But then I came to “Adela’s House”, which was wonderful, and “An Invocation of the Big-Eared Runt”- which was my favorite story of the novel. I remember when I read it, my girlfriend was driving and I was in the passenger seat, and I kept exclaiming out loud, oohing and aahing over parts of the story, and eventually insisting I tell her all about it. The last story that I enjoyed was “Green Red Orange”, which deeply shook me. Anyone in the technological age likely can relate, and there was something too personal about that one that hits so well for horror.
Overall, another brilliant read. I desperately hope Ms. Enriquez will do more of these short stories. They may not all be perfect, but the ones that stand out REALLY stand out. I feel as though her novels are something that you have to let sit with you; Looking back, my opinion glows more positively than it did when I first read them. The symbolism and meaning to the stories needed time to sink in, and now I count this novel among my favorite horror tales.