A 1993 collection of 19 imaginative stories by the Argentine writer (Open Door, 1988, etc.) whose freest work picks up where her late countryman Julio Cortâ€¡zar left off. Self-reflexiveness dominates several pieces that speculate on ways to fictionalize intractable materials, and a few (gathered under the subtitle ""Firytales"") resemble Angela Carter's fetching transmogrifications of myth and folktale. But Valenzuela's distinctive wit and concision show themselves to best advantage in a rich portrayal of Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution (""The Charm Against Storms""), the amusing tale of a disastrous wedding night in Venice (""Desire Makes the Waters Rise""), and especially the title story: an eerie meditation on the connections between two deaths occurring 30 years apart. Very impressive work.