A young woman suffers a mental breakdown because of her repressive and religious mother. A group of children is fascinated by the sudden death of a friend. A drug trafficking couple visits Paris at the same time as a psychopathic cannibal. A mysterious wave travels through a university campus, driving students to suicide. A photographer witnesses a family’s surface composure shatter during a portrait session. A worker on Mars sees ghostly animals in the desert and longs for an impossible return to Earth. A plastic surgeon botches an operation and hides on a sugar cane plantation where indigenous slavery is practiced.
Horror and the fantastic mark the unstable realism of Our Dead World, in which altered states of consciousness, marginalized peoples, animal bodies, and tensions between tradition and modernity are recurring themes. Liliana Colanzi’s stories explore those moments when the civilized voice of the ego gives way to the buzzing of the subconscious, and repressed indigenous history destabilizes the colonial legacy still present in contemporary Latin America.
Liliana Colanzi (Bolivia, 1981) has published the story collections Permanent Vacation (2010) and Our Dead World (2014). She studies comparative literature at Cornell University, and edits the Enchanted Forest series for the publisher El Cuervo. In 2015 she won the Aura Estrada Prize. Colanzi is considered by critics to be one of the most promising voices of the new Latin American narrative, and this book is an ambitious formal and thematic leap.