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Mariana Enríquez

Mariana Enríquez Mariana Enríquez[1†]

Mariana Enríquez, born in 1973 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a celebrated Argentine journalist, novelist, and short story writer. A prominent figure in the "new Argentine narrative", her horror-themed short stories have garnered international acclaim, appearing in esteemed publications like Granta and The New Yorker. With translations in over twenty languages, Enríquez has earned numerous literary honors, notably for her novel "Our Share of Night" and short story collection "The Dangers of Smoking in Bed," which was shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize[1†][2†][3†].

Early Years and Education

Mariana Enríquez was born in 1973 in Buenos Aires, Argentina[1†]. She spent her childhood in Valentín Alsina, a suburb in the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area[1†]. Parts of her family hail from North-Eastern Argentina (Corrientes and Misiones) and Paraguay[1†].

Enríquez’s early life was significantly influenced by her surroundings. She moved with her family to La Plata, where she became part of the local literary and punk scenes[1†]. These experiences inspired her to study journalism with a focus on rock music[1†].

Enríquez started writing in the mid-nineties as a teenager[1†][4†]. She holds a degree in Journalism and Social Communication from the National University of La Plata[1†]. Her first novel was published when she was just 21 years old[1†][4†].

Her early works were more steeped in realism, but she found herself wanting to explore the genre of horror, as well as the specific voice of a female narrator[1†][4†]. This inclination towards horror and the female narrative voice has become a defining characteristic of her later works[1†][5†][4†].

Career Development and Achievements

Mariana Enríquez began her writing career in the mid-nineties[3†]. Her first novel, “Bajar es lo peor” (Espasa Calpe, 1995), was published when she was just 21 years old[3†][6†][1†]. This novel was a small local success, thanks to her age and her attitude, and because the novel’s main characters were a gay couple[3†][6†].

Enríquez holds a degree in Journalism and Social Communication from the National University of La Plata[3†][1†]. She works as a journalist and is the deputy editor of the arts and culture section of the newspaper Página/12[3†][1†]. She also conducts literature workshops[3†][1†].

Over the years, Enríquez has published several novels and short story collections. Her novels include “Cómo desaparecer completamente” (Emecé, 2004) and “Nuestra parte de noche” (Anagrama, 2019)[3†][1†]. Her short story collections include “Los peligros de fumar en la cama” (Emecé, 2009) and “Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego” (Editorial Anagrama, 2016)[3†][1†]. Her stories have appeared in anthologies of Spain, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and Germany[3†][1†].

In 2017, “Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego” was translated into English by Megan McDowell, and published as “Things We Lost in the Fire” by Portobello Books in the U.K. and Hogarth in the U.S[3†][1†]. In 2019, she won the Herralde Prize for her fourth novel, “Nuestra parte de noche” (“Our Share of Night”)[3†][1†].

Enríquez’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages, and she has received numerous accolades for her contributions to literature[3†]. Her novel “Our Share of Night” and her short story collection “The Dangers of Smoking in Bed” were particularly well-received, with the latter being shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize[3†][1†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

Mariana Enríquez has made significant contributions to literature through her novels and short story collections. Here are some of her main works:

Enríquez’s works have been translated into several languages and have appeared in anthologies in Spain, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and Germany[1†]. Her stories often delve into the horror genre, exploring the darker aspects of human nature and society[1†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Mariana Enríquez’s work is often characterized by its exploration of the horror genre, a choice that reflects the complex and often terrifying reality of Argentina’s history[7†]. Her stories are filled with compelling figures and haunting narratives that evaluate inequality, violence, and corruption[7†][8†].

Enríquez’s writing style is described as tough-edged and tightly honed, inhabiting the space between high gothic horror and cruel sociopolitical reality[7†][9†]. Her ability to weave these elements together results in stories that are both chilling and deeply reflective of societal issues[7†][9†].

Her novel, “Our Share of Night,” is set during and after Argentina’s military dictatorship, and it fuses political allegory with gleeful gore[7†][9†]. This novel showcases Enríquez’s ability to tackle heavy themes such as political violence and the occult, presenting them in a way that is both engaging and thought-provoking[7†][9†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Mariana Enríquez’s work is often characterized by its exploration of the horror genre, a choice that reflects the complex and often terrifying history of her home country, Argentina[7†]. Her stories are filled with compelling figures and haunting narratives that evaluate inequality, violence, and corruption[7†][8†].

Enríquez’s writing style is described as tough-edged and tightly honed[7†][9†]. Her stories inhabit the space between high gothic horror and cruel sociopolitical reality[7†][9†]. At its best, her writing has a cool, brutal economy[7†][9†]. This unique blend of horror and reality puts a spotlight on the real horrors that get lost in phrases like "political violence"[7†].

Her novel, “Our Share of Night”, set in the decades during and after Argentina’s military dictatorship, is an occult treatment of the 'dirty war’[7†][9†]. It fuses political allegory and gleeful gore, demonstrating Enríquez’s ability to weave complex narratives that reflect the darker aspects of human nature and society[7†][9†].

Critics have praised Enríquez for her ability to illuminate the horrifying aspects of reality through her genre of choice[7†]. Kazuo Ishiguro, the Nobel laureate, has described the “beautiful, horrible world” of Enríquez’s writing as "the most exciting discovery I’ve made in fiction for some time"[7†].

However, some critics have pointed out that the expansive and free-associative style of “Our Share of Night” can sometimes lead to a lack of structure and aimlessness[7†][9†]. Despite this, Enríquez’s stubborn anti-invention soaks deep into her language, creating a unique narrative style[7†][9†].

Overall, Mariana Enríquez’s work provides a critical analysis of Argentine society, skillfully using the language of horror to highlight the real-life atrocities that have occurred in her country[7†].

Personal Life

Mariana Enríquez, born in 1973, currently resides in Buenos Aires[7†]. Despite her public persona as a renowned author and journalist, details about her personal life are relatively private. This privacy underscores the respect for personal boundaries in the public sphere, particularly for individuals in the creative and journalistic fields[7†].

Enríquez’s personal life, however, does seep into her work in subtle ways. Her upbringing and experiences in Buenos Aires, her interactions with the local literary and punk scenes, and her academic focus on rock music have all influenced her writing[7†][1†]. These elements of her personal life provide a unique lens through which she explores themes of horror and the macabre in her stories[7†].

While specific details about her relationships and family life remain undisclosed, it’s evident that her personal experiences and the cultural milieu of Argentina have significantly shaped her narrative style and thematic explorations[7†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Mariana Enríquez has made a significant impact on contemporary literature, particularly within the horror genre[10†]. Her work, which combines elements of Argentine history with gothic horror, offers a unique perspective on societal issues[10†]. Through her stories, she illuminates the dark history and realities of Argentina, from a past scarred by dictatorships to contemporary issues such as poverty, misogyny, and corruption[10†].

Enríquez’s stories often feature the supernatural, serving as metaphors for real-world horrors[10†]. For instance, the figure of the “desaparecido” in her work represents a politics of erasure that has been systematically censored and unacknowledged[10†]. This use of horror elements to explore societal and political issues is a defining characteristic of her work[10†].

Her novel, “Our Share of Night,” exemplifies this approach. It uses Argentina’s history, full of tumult, gaps, and mysteries, as the scaffolding for her dark and mysterious world[10†][11†]. The novel explores themes of power, sacrifice, and spiritual communication, all set against the backdrop of Argentina’s historical and contemporary challenges[10†][11†].

Enríquez’s work has not only contributed to the “new Argentine narrative” but also to a broader understanding of the interplay between horror and societal critique[10†]. Her stories serve as a reminder of the power of literature to shed light on the darker aspects of our world[10†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Mariana Enríquez [website] - link
  2. Penguin Random House - Mariana Enriquez [website] - link
  3. Granta - Mariana Enriquez [website] - link
  4. Columbia University - School of the Arts - Our Word Hosts Reading and Conversation with Author Mariana Enriquez [website] - link
  5. The Guardian - The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez review – unsettling tales [website] - link
  6. Latin American Literature Today - “I See Myself as a Latin American Writer”: An Interview with Mariana Enriquez [website] - link
  7. The Guardian - None [website] - link
  8. Electric Literature - The Dark Themes of Mariana Enriquez [website] - link
  9. The Guardian - Our Share of Night by Mariana Enríquez review – political horror [website] - link
  10. OpenEdition Journals - Horror as Real and the Real as Horror: Ghosts of the Desaparecidos in Argentina [website] - link
  11. Americas Quarterly - Mariana Enríquez’s Meaningful Monsters [website] - link
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