The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

By Mariana Enriquez, Megan McDowell (translator),

Book cover of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

Book description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE

'Beautiful, horrible... the most exciting discovery I've made in fiction for some time' Kazuo Ishiguro
'Smoky, carnal, dazzling' Lauren Groff

Welcome to Buenos Aires, a place of nightmares and twisted imaginings, where missing children come back from the dead and unearthed bones carry terrible…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Dangers of Smoking in Bed as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I came to the book almost a year late, which is astonishing, as I am a great fan of Enriquez’s short fiction. The short stories in this collection met my expectations, combining gothic (or, shall we say, neo-gothic) elements with a vivid ramble through Buenos Aires, where the stories are based.

Enriquez is a master of the arts of the short story, and the hearts of human beings. These unsettling narratives of witchcraft, revenge, disappearances, and madness seem to be so far from our ordinary middle-class existence, and yet, they tell you more about our lives than the usual fiction…

A collection of sinister, menacing stories, each hinting at death or danger, with some alluding to the supernatural. Several are set in threatening urban locations. Others offer ominous settings that unsettle the reader: a well, a remote quarry pool, a derelict lookout tower. Most are delivered by narrators who casually describe the no-hope lives of the characters and scenarios in a nonchalant, streetwise way.

The narrative style invites the reader to speculate what will or may happen, adding suspense and discomfort. An example is the novella Kids Who Come Back, in which children who have been reported as missing return…

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