‘Spiderweb’ by Mariana Enríquez

Set during the sweaty Southern Cone summer months, you’ll never experience a “happy couples’ holiday” with your beloved partner in quite the same way again after reading this! I love the slow build-up of tension and dread in this story, the strangeness of its details (like the disappearing fire glimpsed from an airplane), the A.M. Homes-esque brutality of the narrator towards her irritating husband, and the totally out-of-left-field (yet completely perfect) ending. You can’t have a story about disappearances set in the Río Plata area not seem like a commentary on historical atrocities, but the sly way this piece develops and builds upon this theme, in a way you wouldn’t expect, is utterly singular. I suggest reading this with a caipirinha in hand, bugs crawling over your feet, and plenty of sickly-smelling sunscreen burning your eyes.

First published in The New Yorker, December 2016) Chosen by Julianne Pachico. Read Julianne’s Personal Anthology here

‘The Intoxicated Years’, by Mariana Enríquez, translated by Megan McDowell

 My God, is Mariana Enríquez incredible. Things We Lost in the Fire is one of the strongest collections I’ve ever read, and I think this is my favorite story among the twelve on this list. Shirley Jackson fans, you MUST read her! I find the way “The Intoxicated Years” moves through time incredibly moving, as it traces the rise and fall of a friendship between a group of teenage girls in post-dictatorship, late 80s/early 90s Argentina.

From Things We Lost in the Fire, Portobello Books, 2017. Available to read online in Granta here