Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez

Our Share of Night is a complex novel of dark powers, military dictatorship, and a powerful family, set across decades in Argentina. Gaspar’s father Juan has been at the whims of the Order for years, as a “medium” able to commune with the ominous Darkness and take part in bloodthirsty rituals. Juan is desperate to keep Gaspar safe from these people, partly his family, but the Order has a dark history and plenty of wealth and power in Argentina. Across decades, Gaspar, Juan, and others try to evade the Order’s plans, amidst political turbulence and changing times.

The book is split into various sections, each spanning a certain period of time, and this works very well in telling the story, from Juan on a road trip with young Gaspar to Gaspar’s mother in 1960s London to an article detailing the cover up of the deaths of political activists. Though the novel is pretty epic in length, the different sections break it up in a way that means it doesn’t feel too slow, particularly as it uses different perspectives. Again, these perspectives could make the book confusing, but I didn’t find this, and you end up quite invested in some of the characters (and horrified by others – the book really explores the dark side of humans confronted with power and malevolent magic).

As I would expect from having read Enriquez’s story collection The Dangers of Smoking In Bed, this novel combines malevolent magic and horror with politics and humanity, resulting in a rich book that I enjoyed more than the story collection, possibly because it felt so fully realised. I don’t always get along with a book so long and split into parts, but this one worked for me, with enough going on and some sections that are quite different to others, whilst others feel like a continuation of Gaspar’s story. I particularly enjoyed the flashback type section focusing on Gaspar’s mother that was set in London in the late 60s and 70s, as the way that the occult stuff was mixed with the hippy and counterculture stuff was really interesting.

Our Share of Night is a long novel that spans genres, looking at power and brutality in a real and supernatural context, exposing Argentinian history and relationships between children and parents. I enjoyed the weaving together of magic, horror, and real violence, which was powerful, but also the focus on characters, flawed and angry and secretive.