The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories (Paperback)
An alluring and haunting short story collection from Argentina that will smear your mind with the scummy film of lost ghosts and the corruption of desire, Mariana Enriquez’s characters live in the darkness of moral ambiguity, a horror of an urban and sociopolitical reality that exists as a presence best left alone. Scared, burned, starved, disappeared, and exploited, no one leaves the room without the Void touching their skin and ravaging their psyche.
- Mike— From Staff Favorites List - 2022
“The beautiful, horrible world of Mariana Enriquez, as glimpsed in The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, with its disturbed adolescents, ghosts, decaying ghouls, the sad and angry homeless of modern Argentina, is the most exciting discovery I’ve made in fiction for some time.”—Kazuo Ishiguro, The Guardian
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE • NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • FINALIST: Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Ray Bradbury Prize, Kirkus Prize • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Oprah Daily, New York Public Library, Electric Lit, LitHub, Kirkus Reviews
Mariana Enriquez has been critically lauded for her unconventional and sociopolitical stories of the macabre. Populated by unruly teenagers, crooked witches, homeless ghosts, and hungry women, they walk the uneasy line between urban realism and horror. The stories in her new 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 bracing 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 when it fails to respond correctly to a moral dilemma.
Written against the backdrop of contemporary Argentina, and with a resounding tenderness toward those in pain, in fear, and in limbo, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed is Mariana Enriquez at her most sophisticated, and most chilling.
About the Author
Mariana Enriquez is a writer and editor based in Buenos Aires, where she contributes to a number of newspapers and literary journals, both fiction and nonfiction.
“The beautiful, horrible world of Mariana Enriquez, as glimpsed in The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, with its disturbed adolescents, ghosts, decaying ghouls, the sad and angry homeless of modern Argentina, is the most exciting discovery I’ve made in fiction for some time.”—Kazuo Ishiguro
“Mariana Enriquez’s fiction is haunted by the specter of late-twentieth-century Latin American history. . . . Yet because the fiction is so alive, the experience of being in her world is enjoyable.”—Francine Prose, New York Review of Books
“Stories of spirits and disappearances collectively address the mystery of loss through narratives that are as gripping as they are chilling.”—Chicago Review of Books
“Enriquez’s gaze throughout the collection is unflinching, taking readers into dark and grotesque territory, yet it is her morality, a pervasive sense of right and wrong, that anchors each story and prevents the collection from veering into the lurid horror of tabloid tragedy.”—Ploughshares
“Like her Chilean neighbor, the late Roberto Bolaño, Mariana Enriquez crafts fiction about the darkest recesses of the human heart that makes you feel light after reading it—uplifted by the precision and poetry of her characters’ voices.”—The A.V. Club
“The Dangers of Smoking in Bed establishes Enríquez as a premier literary voice. Enríquez's extraordinary—and extraordinarily ominous—fiction holds up a mirror to our bewildering times, when borders between the everyday and the inexplicable blur, and converge.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Horrors are relayed in a stylish deadpan. . . . Enriquez’s plots deteriorate with satisfying celerity.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[A] group of off-kilter tales enlivened by captivating unease. Every facet of her writing unsettles. . . . Enriquez, superbly translated by Megan McDowell, masterfully darts from disturbing to funny to repulsive without jarring the reader’s momentum—or, rather, the disturbance is built into the momentum.”—Tasteful Rude
“An atmospheric assemblage of cunning and cutting Argentine gothic tales . . . insidiously absorbing, like quicksand.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Enriquez’s wide-ranging imagination and ravenous appetite for morbid scenarios often reaches sublime heights. Adventurous readers will be rewarded in these trips into the macabre.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Enriquez['s] . . . straightforward delivery and matter-of-fact tone that belie the wild, gasp-worthy action unfolding on the page.”—Booklist
“Rotting little ghosts, heartbeat fetishes, curses and witches and meat: Each of these stories is a luscious, bewitching nightmare. I adore this book.”—Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers
“I loved these twisted tales, these lustful whispers in the dark. There is some serious power in this writing.”—Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters