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.
I received a free eARC from the publisher, Hogarth (Crown Publishing), and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
I’m gonna start this off with a gigantic content warning for just about everything imaginable – sacrificial murders, ghosts, drug abuse, suicide, rape, body horror, starvation and self-harm. This book is literally full of all of those things in each story.
I’m gonna start this off with a gigantic content warning for just about everything imaginable – sacrificial murders, ghosts, drug abuse, suicide, rape, body horror, starvation and self-harm. This book is literally full of all of those things in each story, and there’s no way to avoid them if you read this collection.
I really wanted to like this, but I really didn’t. I debated not finishing the collection about halfway through, but I made myself get through it, thinking that it had to get better. It really didn’t, though.
The stories in this book were more vignettes than stories, in that most of them had no resolution and you never felt like you got to know any of the characters.
Things We Lost in the Fire is advertised as “macabre, disturbing and exhilarating,” but this collection of stories felt more like it was shock, gore and horror, just for the sake of shocking the reader, except I had no emotional connection to anything going on.
I don’t want to say that this sucked, but it sucked to read.
It looks like Things We Lost In The Fire has been previously published a few times, and the other reviews I’ve seen have been four and five stars. It may be that I was the wrong reader for this – I don’t know anything about Argentinean culture and I don’t always enjoy horror – but this really did not work for me. If this is what life in Argentina is like, I never, ever want to go there.
Whatever the reason, I disliked this book immensely, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone because of that. This was a one star read for me.