song: things we lost in the fire

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Argentina can be beguiling, but its grand European architecture and lively coffee culture obscure a dark past: In the 1970s and early ‘80s, thousands of people were tortured and killed under the country’s military dictatorship. In many cases, the children of the disappeared were kidnapped, and some of those children were raised by their parents’ murderers.

That troubled past serves as a backdrop for Things We Lost in the Fire, an unsettling new collection by Argentine writer Mariana Enriquez.

In ‘Things We Lost,’ Argentina’s Haunted History Gets A Supernatural Twist

Photo: Marian Carrasquero

bastilledan: We first came to Lithuania a few years ago to shoot the “Things We Lost In The Fire” video with @naoraloni. It is one of my favourites that we’ve made. We had a slightly mad 24 hours shooting it in between gigs and festivals and it was loads of fun. It’s good to be back here playing a show tonight 🇱🇹

TWLITF: Music video | BTS video

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Things We Lost In The Fire @ Union Chapel for Streets Of London

I will not sleep well tonight after reading Mariana Enriquez’s Things We Lost in The Fire: Stories. Her stories are often magical realist, sometimes speculative fiction, and often gothic horror mixed with a heavy helping of political and social critique. They are emotionally arresting and visually haunting. They hold trigger warnings for sexual assault and a lot of violence, and explore both the horrors of our own world and that of the gothic, magical realist one she creates, pulling from the traditions of authors such as Jorge Luis Borges and Shirley Jackson.

The realist pieces of Enriquez’s tales are almost as haunting as the horror. There are grisly murders and heartbreaking poverty to accompany the terrifying demon children and ghosts that haunt these tales. Best of all, however, all of these tales are told by strong, complex women characters. Difficult women, all of them, they confront the realness and the unrealness of their situations with fear, with strength. They are fascinating women, often struggling with their semi-abusive relationships with men, often interested in men, often dangerous themselves. Their tales and characters ground the stories and are what allow her horror, her shockers, her terror (I really won’t be sleeping tonight, I meant that) to such vivid life before your eyes. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review, thrilled because I was planning to get my hands on a copy anyway. I recommend you read every story in this incredibly translated collection. I also highly recommend you read it in the daylight.

“In the darkness, in among the barely visible vegetation, the fireflies shone. I hate when people call them lightning bugs; firefly is a beautiful word. Once, I caught a bunch of them in an empty mayonnaise jar, and I realized how ugly they really are, like cockroaches with wings. But they’ve been blessed with the purest possible justice. Still and grounded, they look like a pest, but when they fly and light up, they are the closest thing to magic, a portent of beauty and goodness.”