On the first attempt, its strange, viscous language stopped me one-third-way through. A year and a half later, when the nights became longest, I unearthed this book and resumed reading. It gave me nightmares. The stories feature solitude, mirrors, incest, rape, murder and execution, in a variety of combinations — at times delicious, at times revolting. My three favourites are Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest and Master, both taking place in some Márquez-esque selva, and a delightfully gothic horror of The Loves of Lady Purple. Next time I need some verschrobene texts to keep my English students suitably bamboozled, I know where to look.