These stories range from tales told to the author as a child, to fictional accounts interweaving erotica, fantasy, and suspense elements in the rural and urban Gothic; part homage to the ancestors who lurk immortal in family folklore, part stories of imagination where specters emerge from the darkness to taunt and torment. From the terrors of the Great Depression to the devastation following Hurricane María, these tales chronicle the resistance and spirit of the Puerto Rican people; a testament to survival and perseverance in the face of disaster and the phantoms awaiting us when we turn off the lights.
"Charlie Vázquez revisits the history of Puerto Rico and its diasporas, telling the stories of our dead. Using a textual tonality that brings Edgar Allan Poe and Horacio Quiroga to mind, Vázquez creates wonderfully crafted stories about souls who perish in the Great Depression, young widows drowned in hurricanes, soldiers recruited for medical experiments, and ladies of the night succumbing to vice. With an all-encompassing eye, Vázquez digs deep into various moments in Puerto Rican history to tell the stories of our terror, stories that endure in the realm of phantasms, trapping the living in a limbo that also turns them into transparent, yet present, traces of collective trauma. Finally, a book about our persisting ghosts written with a clarity that can help us conjure collective memory so we can move forward."
Mayra Santos-Febres, author and founder of Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico