The Secret Life of Insects by Bernardo Esquinca
Trade Paperback – Valancourt Books – 2023 – 210 pages
Bernardo Esquinca’s haunting tale “Señor Ligotti” represented Mexico in the acclaimed The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories and was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award. Now Valancourt Books is proud to present this collection of fourteen of his best stories, which also features a foreword by award-winning author Mariana Enriquez. In “The Secret Life of Insects”, a forensic entomologist tries to solve the inexplicable murder of his wife, who impossibly seems to have been killed in a forest at the same time she was asleep in bed with him. The husband in “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” becomes concerned by his wife’s strange behavior, which includes sleepwalking, muttering strange phrases, and a bizarre erotic fascination with octopi. In “Come to Me”, a woman visits a witch doctor who promises to forge an unbreakable bond between her and the man of her dreams, but things go horribly awry after the man dies. And in the novella “Demoness”, four high school friends reunite twenty years later at a class reunion and must face the long-buried truth of a demonic experience from their youth.
The history of Mexico is drenched in blood, from the sacrifices of the ancient Aztecs to the bloodthirsty conquest of the Spanish to modern-day violent crime, and that legacy of violence and death pervades these stories. They blend the genres of horror and noir in inventive ways and run the gamut from chilling to weirdly unsettling to darkly funny. It is a volume sure to please not only fans of horror and weird fiction but also anyone interested in contemporary international literature. This edition also features brilliant full-page illustrations by Spanish artist Luis Pérez Ochando.