Recipes for Endangered Species: Stories
Traci O. Connor, . . Tarpaulin Sky Press, $15 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-9825416-2-3
Aside from the deliberate efforts to shock, these stories constitute some tender, aching love stories. Connor's characters are curious specimens who don't quite fit in, but have rich inner lives, such as Zha Zha, the chronically unfaithful exotic dancer in “The Flying Codona” (“tits are made of cantaloupe and she eats them with a spoon”), whose lovelorn boyfriend consoles himself by dreaming of being a trapeze artist. “Starla and June” is a creepy, Hitchcockian tale about an unraveling love affair involving a prosthetic hand that offers words of courage and strength: “Oh, Pet, she'll be back,” says the hand. “Van Gogh Dreams” juxtaposes vivid descriptions of flowers with excerpts from the painter's late asylum notebooks to evoke the chilling stream-of-consciousness of a troubled narrator. “Monkey Teeth” is a kind of nut job's notebook, full of Lolita-like obsession (including photographs). Cocktail recipes conclude each of the stories in this varied and occasionally unnerving debut collection.
Reviewed on: 03/22/2010