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The Crack Magazine


The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez

If you can imagine a conflation of Hubert Selby Jr. and Shirley Jackson, you’d probably have The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, Mariana Enriquez’s unsettling and stiletto sharp book of short stories. Horror, body-shock and subtle social and political commentary combine to create the kind of short stories whose bloody hands grab you by the neck and don’t let go - the Argentinian disappeared are never far away, nor are violent men. But what happens when (the presumed dead) street kids start reappearing on the streets of Buenos Aires? What happens when a dead pop star inspires two sisters to a shockingly Jacobean act of devotion? What happens when normal life is suddenly cast aside and the supernatural creeps in to reveal the skewed and harsh realities of life? If you’re intrigued by the questions some of these stories pose this book is for you. Silkily and smartly translated by Megan McDowell, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is a fantastic collection, and with Things We Lost in the Fire (her first book of short stories published in the UK), heralds a talent whose future work I can’t wait to read.

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed – Mariana Enriquez – publ. Granta - £8.99

Steven Long