Writer: Horacio Quiroga
Publishing House: Echo Library
Date of Publication: October 13th 2006
”I don’t know whether the howling of an epileptic gives others the impression of a beastly, otherworldly scream. But I am certain that the howling of a mad dog, running nightly circles around our house, would make everyone feel the same foreboding nervousness. It is a sharp, loud, agonizing howl, as if the animal is dying right there and then, a scream of macabre feelings, the feelings of a mad life.”
Horacio Quiroga is considered the Edgar Allan Poe of South American Literature. A tortured soul who lived a troubled life, constantly faced with terror, loss, and death, he produced short stories that reflect the murky depths of the human soul, stripped naked of all reservations in the face of obsession and denial that slowly lead into madness. Most of the stories in this collection require a strong stomach and leave you with an intense feeling of dread. These are stories of love, madness, and death, the three forces that walk hand-in-hand by our side, waiting and wanting to awaken.
I couldn’t find an English or Spanish edition available but luckily I discovered a Greek edition in my local bookstore. The translation is below average but what can you do…I have translated the titles in English from Spanish as accurately as I can.
El Solitario (The Brooch): A mild-mannered jewelry maker has to put up with his wife’s maddening vision of non-existent greatness. The end is highly justifiable…
La Gallina Degollada (The Decapitated Hen): A story of a cursed family and one of the most terrifying pieces of Literature you will ever read…
Los Buques Suicidantes (The Suicide Ships): Strange disappearances, Fata Morgana, dread and the madness of the sea.
El Almohadón de Plumas (The Feathered Pillow): A young woman becomes severely ill because of a terrifying, unknown affliction. This is the perfect Gothic Horror story.
El Perro Rubioso (The Mad Dog): Α village is struck by the terrible disease and a family falls victim of the ugly games of Fate.
A la Deriva (Following the Flow): A man’s hallucinations under the influence of deathly poison.
La Insolación (Sunstruck): A fellowship of dogs contemplates strange deaths and future owners on a hot summer day.
La Miel Silvestre (Wild Honey): Haunted trees, deadly ants and an explorer’s fervent curiosity.
This collection is not an easy read. But if you are a lover of the bizarre, the dark and the macabre and if you want to experience writing that exposes each one of our vices, Quiroga is waiting…
*Extract translated by me, taken from the Greek edition.*