We recently discovered the Argentine novelist and journalist Mariana Enriquez with the French translation of her novel Our part of the night, published by Alto, a brick of 800 pages. Those wishing to discover his universe where the morbid, the horror and the realm of the dead reign, can do so in a more digestible way with the collection of short stories The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, again translated from Spanish by Anne Plantagenet for the Quebec publishing house.
From Buenos Aires to Barcelona, from slums to ghettos, Mariana Enriquez depicts a harsh and nauseating world, where people live who exist outside the system or function within it with difficulty and misery: marginalized, maladjusted, dying, young or old. , they suffer from a mismatch with the world, which they often observe from afar, in their dirty and dilapidated apartments, in seedy bars, in neighborhoods where hope has long since vanished.
This horrible world where sometimes a form of beauty, as sordid as it is, is populated by missing child-revenants, curses, demons, the specter of a small child in semi-putrefaction. There is necrophagia, madness, gore, blood, bones, mutilated bodies, forbidden sexuality, perverse impulses. Yes, it’s very creepy, and Enriquez does not care about taboos. There is in this exalted imagination, where the dead come to haunt a corrupt and stinking world, something that grabs and fascinates us, from which we are unable to look away. Be warned.