Hi everyone! I have a very exciting post today as part of my celebration of Latinx Heritage Month. I have been trying to get into horror lately and obviously I have tried to pick up horror books by Latinx authors, which is why I wanted to recommend some of them to you. Since it’s almost spooky season, I thought it woulf be a great time for this post. I am also mentioning some books that are on my tbr since I’m so new to this genre.
Since getting interested in horror written by Latinx authors, I have learned that there has been a huge boom of horror books in Latin American countries in the last few years, especially horror books written by women. That’s why most of my recommendactions are translated books and most of the books on my tbr too. Also, simply because I want to read more books set in and written by people living in Latin American countries.
First, here are my recommendations:
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore. Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Then one day Marcos is given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.
This book is actually very disturbing because it makes cannibalism seem like something that could actually happen, the way the author executes the whole concept makes it seem so plausible. Bazterrica does a great job of thinking about all the things we do with animals (eat them, hunt them, use them for skins and to test drugs) and she incorporates all that to the story but changes the animals for humans. She also really goes into a lot of detail about the process of producing human meat from raising to slaughtering to processing to distribution. She explains how everything is done and it’s very unsettling because you can’t help but be repulsed and interested at teh same time.
Another thing that the author does very well is communicating the feeling of desperation, desolation, and loneliness that this society lives in even if they try to pretend they don’t. She creates the perfect atmosphere for the story, which reflects the decline of all the moral values in this society. Beyond the concept, setting, and atmosphere, the plot revolves around events of a smaller scale but it’s as disturbing as everything else
A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.
This is a short book that’s very atmospheric, the reading experience is disorienting and trippy since the story is told by a confused, feverish woman, and the author does a great job of transmiting the frustration and fear that the main character feels caused by this very intense and strange little kid who pushes her to talk and won’t answer her questions. Reading this book is a very inmersive experience because all of these elements.
Beyond that, Samantha Schweblin does a good job of commenting on the use of pesticides in Argentina and its effect on entire towns and the people who live in them, but adding a paranormal element that it’s never quite explained but that adds to the weirdness and creepiness of the story.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer but she is not afraid.
There are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
This is a creepy, atmospheric, and disturbing book that has beautiful and captivating writing. The story is so effective in being scary because even when it’s not clear if there are ghosts, magic, or other supernatural things going on, the real villains of the story are manipulative, abusive, disgusting men that you could find anywhere in the world and anytime in history. This book is creepy from very early on, Moreno-García made my skin crawl with the simplest scenes, sometimes nothing too scary was happening but with one perfectly crafted phrase, I was spooked. Also, this includes important commentary on sexism, colonialism, and eugenics that gives depth to the story.
Short story collection that brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where shocking inequality, violence, and corruption are the law of the land, while military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory.
This book does a good job of commenting on subjects like poverty, addiction, feminicide, police brutality, and so much more, through a gothic lens and with a touch of paranormal elements (a lot of them related to Argentinian folklore). Most of the stories are disturbing and quietly eerie, some with grotesque moments, some transmitting very well the sense of dread and fear of the characters, and most of them revolving spooky and mysterious circumstances. The author leaves the resolution of a lot of the stories up to the reader’s imagination, so it feels like they end quite abruptly, which is a bit jarring but ends up working really well to maintain the sense of uneasiness that the stories create.
After the hurricane, some see destruction and some smell blood. The tiny island of Vieques, located just off the northeastern coast of the main island of Puerto Rico, is trying to recover after hurricane Maria, but the already battered island is now half empty. To make matters worse, developers have come in to buy up the land at a fraction of its worth, taking advantage of the island when it is down. Lupe, Javier, and Marisol are back to investigate a series of murders that follow in the wake of a hurricane and in the shadow of a new supernatural threat.
This is the only YA book on this list, and it’s a quick and entertaining read set in Puerto Rico about teenagers who get involved with a supernatural mystery. This is a ghost story and the really interesting thing about it is that the ghost element is deeply related to the history of Pueblo Rico, and particularly, the history of Pueblo Rico as a colonized land. There are a couple spooky ghost scenes, which was a fun element of the story. Also, the author does a great job of integrating what has happened in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria- especially the abandonment of Puerto Rico by the U.S. government – to the book
I definitely want to explore the horror genre more and specifically, horror written by Latinx authros, so here are some books that have caught my eye and that I’m hoping to read soon:
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor: The story of a small town were the Witch turns up dead. And the discovery of her corpse propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds new details, new acts of depravity or brutality are revealed.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado: A collection of short stories that that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie: The story of La Llorona, who roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman. Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.”
The Children by Carolina Sanín: The story of a woman who discovers a mysterious young boy on the pavement outside her apartment building: Fidel, who is six years old, a child with seemingly no origins or meaning. With few clues to guide her as she tries to discover his real identity, Laura finds herself swept into a bureaucratic maelstrom of fantastical proportions.
Little Eyes by Samantha Schweblin: The story of little mechanical stuffed animals called Kentukis, which have gone viral across the globe. They have cameras for eyes, wheels for feet, and are connected to an anonymous global server. Owners of kentukis have the eyes of a stranger in their home; or you can be the kentuki and voyeuristically spend time in someone else’s life, controlling the creature with a few keystrokes. These creatures can reveal the beauty of connection between farflung souls – but they also expose the ugly humanity of our increasingly linked world.