cover image White Dialogues

White Dialogues

Bennett Sims. Two Dollar Radio (Consortium, dist.), $15.99 trade paper (212p) ISBN 978-1-937512-63-7

Sims’s debut story collection (after the novel A Questionable Shape) elegantly explores the ordinary and fantastic terrors lurking in the deepest recesses of the psyche. Told in the second person, “House-Sitting” features a protagonist who has been employed to oversee a cabin in the woods, and who starts believing that the place is haunted by the owner’s deranged thoughts. “Radical Closure,” also told in the second person, centers on a writer who is plagued by inescapable self-defeating notions of being an “idiot” and a “failure.” The narrator of “Destroy All Monsters” plays out in his mind a complex scenario in which insects approaching his apartment window stage a Godzilla-like production. Sims’s stories have horror trappings, and the author excels when tackling everyday, mundane territories. The intricacies of relationships are given a sophisticated treatment in stories such as “The Bookcase” and “Za.” The latter examines the neurotic thought process of a woman as she is trying to interpret the coded language of an email from her recent partner. This is a cerebral collection for fans of smart, philosophical fiction that is not afraid to follow thought experiments to their most chilling conclusions. (Sept.)