SOMEONE PLEASE TURN THE LIGHTS ON!!! [shudders with fear]
This book is made of pure unadulterated DARK DARK DARK matter
4.5 Dark matter stars
About the book
An arresting collection of short stories, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson and Julio Cortazar, by an exciting new international talent.
Macabre, disturbing and exhilarating, Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories that use fear and horror to explore multiple dimensions of life in contemporary Argentina. From women who set themselves on fire in protest of domestic violence to angst-ridden teenage girls, friends until death do they part, to street kids and social workers, young women bored of their husbands or boyfriends, to a nine-year-old serial killer of babies and a girl who pulls out her nails and eyelids in the classroom, to hikikomori, abandoned houses, black magic, northern Argentinean superstition, disappearances, crushes, heartbreak, regret and compassion. This is a strange, surreal and unforgettable collection by an astonishing new talent asking vital questions of the world as we know it.
Oh man! Holy grittiness, this book! This book is beyond horror! It’s dark, cruel, raw, dark matter. Dark matter that goes way beyond vampires, and ghosts; because this is REAL. As real as it gets. This is the stuff that dwells in the murky depths of the most disturbed human minds. The horrible stuff that DOES happen in the world. Unfortunately.
SO WHY ON EARTH I READ AND LIKED THIS BOOK SO MUCH?
Because, for someone like me, this kinda darkness is like a syrupy deliciousness that’s totally addictive like hot chocolate in winter. So about 20% into this book after reading this most gruesome topics (including children torture) I already knew only the darkest darkness awaited me BUT like an addict, I kept subjecting myself to the pain because this storytelling is just engrossing and totally irresistible.
Resistance is futile
I drank every bitter drop on this sickening concoction of everything that is gory, brutal, violent, bloody, creepy and nightmarish in this world.
If you can stomach it, this is one phenomenal ride of gifted storytelling and powerful characterization. One of the best characterization I have ever read. These are short stories, and in one or two paragraphs you feel you have known these characters all your life. The world built around these characters so real! And so rich too. If you are not very acquainted with South American culture a few things may be very shocking, though.
The striking imagery and world building will put this world under a magnifier in a very close and personal perspective for you. You’ll experience the smell, colors and shapes of this culture with all the good and the evil, but mostly the evil. You’ll experience the macro world of the political turmoil, the arbitrariness and bigotry of totalitarian regimes, the misery, the hardship, the human rights violation… You’ll also experience the micro world. You’ll feel the desperation of the drug addict and street workers, the loneliness and hunger of the homeless child, the disgust of a wife of an abusive husband…
Most stories have unresolved endings open to interpretation and I failed to interpret many of them. That’s why I didn’t give it a 5-star review, but these stories do deliver. I may read the Spanish version to see if anything has been lost in translation and maybe change the rating to five stars. I’m also curios if the writing is this awesome in the language it was originally written.
As I said, be prepared to be submerged in a very turbid concoction of everything that is shadowy in human nature [drug traffic, addition, promiscuity, child abuse] mixed with the supernatural of witchcraft, apparitions, and satanic cults. All of also this narrated with the grittiest suspense!
BUT Please remember my warning!
The content is EXTREMELY disturbing [as in children torture, abuse and mutilation disturbing]. Some of it was too much for me and I had to take a break and even doubted if I would finish the book but not ALL the stories are like that brutal so I did finish it. If you like dark tales and dystopian anchored in reality you’ll find this book fascinated.
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