Guest Post by Colm McKenna
Our Share of the Night, Mariana Enriquez’s second novel, is a welcome addition to the emerging genre of Literary Horror. Well-defined lines have been drawn to distinguish “literary” fiction from horror, sci-fi, fantasy etc. Enriquez is becoming a name that is defying the pretensions of such categorization.
Our Share of the Night is a family history, primarily following Gaspar throughout his childhood and adolescence. His father, Juan – a medium for a Satanic cult – strives to help Gaspar avoid his fate of also becoming a medium. The story spans 37 years and has the backdrop of Videla’s military dictatorship, a theme common amongst contemporary Latin American writers.
Like with Hereditary and other recent Art House Horror films, a big part of the novel’s success can be attributed to its commitment to allegory, rather than simply using horror tropes for their shock value. The otherworldly forces, with their power to make people disappear, hold clear parallels with the military dictatorship in Argentina.
Enriquez is keen to explore the psychological effects of the narrative on her characters. A great deal of time is given to exploring the damage done to Gaspar through his involvement with the Occult. Gaspar also suffers real-world problems that are at times more psychologically devastating than the Occult horrors that fill the story.
These real-life problems are not sidelined; as it is put following a Satanic ritual, “we get hungry and we eat. . . we need to meet with the accountants. . . what happens is real, but so is life.”
Our Share of the Night by Mariana Enriquez; Illustrated by Pablo Gerardo Camacho; Translated by Megan McDowell. Hogarth Press, October 2022.
Reviewer bio: Colm McKenna is a second-hand bookseller based in Paris. He has published and self-published an array of short stories and articles, hoping to eventually release a collection of stories. He is mainly interested in the works of John Cowper Powys, Claude Houghton and a range of Latin American writers.