Book Review: The Dangers of Smoking in Bed
Author: Mariana Enríquez
Rating: 4 stars
Read: January 2021
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez: Written against the backdrop of contemporary Argentina, and with resounding tenderness towards those in pain, in fear, and in limbo, this new collection from one of Argentina’s most exciting writers finds Enríquez at her most sophisticated, and most chilling.
The stories in her next collection are as terrifying as they are socially conscious, and press into being the unspoken — fetish, illness, the female body, the darkness of human history — with unsettling urgency. A woman is sexually obsessed with the human heart; a lost, rotting baby crawls out of a backyard and into a bedroom; a pair of teenage girls can’t let go of their idol; an entire neighborhood is cursed to death by a question of morality they fail to answer correctly.Penguin Random House
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is an incredibly disturbing collection of short horror stories. I loved it.
Most of these stories fucked me up, in a good way. A neighborhood begins deteriorating when a stranger leaves his cart of belongings behind; missing children suddenly begin reappearing in local parks years after they have disappeared or been pronounced dead; a woman is followed around by a slightly scary baby ghost that only she can see. All of these stories touch on social issues present in Argentina and beyond. Enriquez pulls you in with ghosts, scaries, and body horror, but leaves you feeling unsettled about your own complicity in a world that is scarier than fiction.
Content warning for basically everything. Some of these stories were a bit too much for me because they contain personal triggers. Some stories contain pedophilia and child abuse, which are an absolute “no thanks” for me, so I did not enjoy those. But overall, if you are a horror fan I recommend this collection. My personal favorite stories are The Cart, Angelita Unearthed, The Lookout, The Well, Kids Who Come Back, and Back When We Talked to the Dead.
Far Flung Readers blog received an Electronic Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Hogarth in exchange for this honest review. A big “thank you” to them! You can read more about our partnerships and affiliate participation here.
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