‘The Stolen Party’ by Liliana Heker, translated by Alberto Manguel

The opening story in Heker’s selected stories Please Talk to Me, is indicative of the sharpness of her fiction; of its careful balancing of expectation with subversion. There is a laceration in the way she approaches fiction, and ‘The Stolen Party’ cuts like a switchblade. We know that the party nine-year-old Rosaura is to attend will end badly for her. We know how precarious her happiness is. But the suspense – the tension between innocence and experience – keeps building until its conclusion, which is as expected, yet somehow much worse than we could have foreseen.

First published in Spanish as  ‘La fiesta ajena’, in Las peras del mal, Editorial de Belgrano, 1982. Collected in English in Please Talk to Me, Yale University Press, 2015

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