cover image The Deer

The Deer

Dashiel Carrera. Dalkey Archive, $15.95 trade paper (142p) ISBN 978-1-62897-402-7

Structured as a concept album, Carrera’s enigmatic debut rings with variations on the themes of family love and loss. “Side A” is concerned with Henry Haverford, a researcher in quantum physics who, while traveling to his family home to attend his father’s funeral, drunkenly drives into a deer—or so he’s told by the police. Though the cops fail to produce the deer’s corpse, they interrogate Haverford and suggest he might have committed murder or involuntary manslaughter, and the stress triggers memories of the familial sexual abuse he endured as a child. In “Side B,” a pair of sisters struggle with their mother to survive in a drought-ravaged postapocalyptic setting. The two sections are dissimilar in tone and content, but Carrera links them with shared motifs of sibling and parental relationships that suggest their eventual intersection. References to the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat (“A person can’t exist in two places.... It splits them in two”) imbue the narrative’s events and their unfolding with a provocative if sometimes puzzling sense of uncertainty and unpredictability. With this textured experiment, Carrera emerges as a promising writer. (Aug.)