the short story project

A House in the Burbs

Edmundo Paz Soldán On:

A House in the Burbs by Valeria Correa Fiz

“I felt as though everything were real and unreal at the same time,” says the narrator of this story. Although it sounds offhand, it’s a declaration of intent: Valeria Correa knows how to create a waking nightmare (perhaps that’s why her main character walks around like an ‘armed sleepwalker’). In just a few lines, the Argentine writer is able to place us right in the middle of a hurricane in Florida, in a house threatened by the Mad Queen – a great character – and her followers. “A House in the Burbs” is, in its way, a Gothic story with all the traditional paraphernalia of the genre updated to the present day: the abandoned mansion, the ‘outside’ threat that really lurks inside and terrifying ghosts haunting the characters. A cat may be tortured, but the ‘Animal Condition’, the title of Valeria’s book, is in fact something else in this story of one-person couples with no future, a story that offers an interesting counterpoint to “The Feather Pillow” by Horacio Quiroga.