Categories: Mystery, Horror, Short Stories
Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of eerie stories centered on women and girls in Argentina, with a touch of urban myth. This exceptional short stories book is the second work by Mariana Enriquez I read and it’s become one of my favorite short stories books. The perfect mixture of mundane worries with surpernatural horror and with the endings open enough that you imagine what happens after the stories, and they live in your imagination longer than in the pages.
I can’t say I had high expectations, although I’d heard nothing but amazing things about this book, because I had been disappointed by Este é o Mar (not translated into English, I believe), but this blew me away. The horror is exactly perfect: creepy, suspenseful, sometimes a bit gory. I do love supernatural/magical realism that is seamlessly added to normal stories. I don’t normally like short stories very much and normally crave dense, larger books with fleshed-out world buildings, but there is something that really works about the brevity in these stories – they leave you thinking about them.
The voice of each narrator felt a bit similar to the others, perhaps because the writing style stays consistent throughout the book – it makes for a more pleasant reading for me, but also makes the main characters seem very similar to each other. The vagueness of their descriptions also helps with this impression. It’s easy to put yourself in place of these women. Most of these stories are focused on women and based on mundane horrors that take a darker, supernatural turn, like self-harm, bad marriages, missing children. This has so, so many trigger warnings, and it gets quite intense and gory at times.