cover image Baby Geisha

Baby Geisha

Trinie Dalton. Two Dollar Radio (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (146p) ISBN 978-0-9832471-0-4

Dalton (Wide Eyed) compiles whimsies of varied quality in this new collection of short prose. In the parable-like “Millennium Chill,” a “mother-aged” woman who can’t find warmth in her new home is visited by a beggar who has memorized her possessions and requests bits of charity: a television set, green galoshes, her cat, her hands, and the “several hundred sweaters” that “cascaded down everything.” In “The Sad Drag Monologues,” in which clownish photographs festoon each piece, narrator Koshare Wildcat declares, “I don’t want to make characters, I want to speak directly to you.... What I care about is the message....” Aptly named narrator Too Cute concurs: “But to turn this into a real story with real characters would be to macerate the metaphor.” Maybe that’s why the monologues work better as creative essays, leaving the book’s few traditionally crafted fictions to lasso the powers of the short story form. Though Dalton writes in the minimalist vein, alongside the likes of Lydia Davis, Ben Marcus, and Gary Lutz, her peculiar fascinations give her a singular voice. Not every piece pays off, but on the whole it’s a pleasurable trip. (Jan.)