Mariana Enríquez, an Argentinian journalist is well known for her macabre fiction heavily influenced by sociopolitical issues and events. Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is her second collection of short stories. Filled with ghosts, body horror, witches and natural disasters, you never know where these 12 tales are going to turn.
“The Angel Baby Followed Me”
The collection begins with “Angelita Unearthed,” in which a rotting baby crawls out of her grave and into the narrator’s bedroom. “The Lookout,” one of my favorites, follows Elina, a troubled young woman with a horrifying past. All by herself, she stays in a hotel that’s haunted by the Lady Upstairs.
What is especially exceptional about Enríquez’s writing is how she takes horror through various, atypical lenses. These stories follow similar themes of pain, fear, oppression and loss. The relationship between the idolized and the idolizers is challenged in “Our Lady of the Quarry” and the titular story, the penultimate in the collection, encompasses female sexuality, grief and desire.
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is a fantastical and exciting new collection that pushes the boundaries of horror. It is written beautifully and often made me anxious and uncomfortable (in the best type of way).(5 / 5)