Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: Baby Geisha

Read 12/10/11 - 12/26/11
3 Stars - Recommended to established fans of Indie Short Stories / Not as an intro book to Two Dollar Radio
Pgs: 144
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Release Date: Jan 2012

As a fan of independent literature, I find myself interestingly torn when it comes to the indie short story collection. Not one to sway undecided on the boundary of love or hate, I tend to have extremely strong feelings one way or the other once I finish reading them.

Baby Geisha, of course, refused to be a love it or hate it collection. It merrily bounced me back and forth over the fence, enticing me one moment - "oh, I love this!" - and turning me off the next - "wtf was that?!". I had the impression that Trinie Dalton's story collection actually enjoyed twisting my emotions like that. What a tease!

When I think about the book as a whole, certain moments within the collection pop into my head. The turtle kicking incident that takes place in the opening story Wet Look. Or the trip a woman and her terminally ill dog take up to Rip Van Winkle's residence in Escape Mushroom Style. Or the algae infested waters of a river where the self titled Perverted Hobo decorates the trees and bushes with women's panties. But these moments are disembodied... seemingly unattached to the stories they belong to. They float somewhere above the collection, tethered to it loosely, as if those moments are trying to outrun the stories they live in... to leave the rest of their words behind. Or perhaps, those moments I recall most clearly are simply too big to remain within the stories in which they were born?

Many of the stories have this elusive, slippery quality to them. They seem to dance just out of reach. Their meanings sit right on the periphery of your vision, you can sense it... you catch sidelong glances of it... but if you attempt to look at it head-on, it escapes you. Like the bodies of water that find themselves in the background of many of Trinie's stories, there is a sort of ebb and flow that lives within her words.

While Baby Geisha may have failed to make me love it completely, there were moments of sheer beauty within its stories that will stick with me for a long time to come.

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