cover image The Sin Eater & Other Stories

The Sin Eater & Other Stories

Elizabeth Frankie Rollins. Queens Ferry (, $14.95 trade paper (140p) ISBN 978-1-938466-05-2

"Dreams blur details. Or make them sharper," remarks one character in Rollins's debut collection, which is itself brimming with moments of dreamlike disorientation and wonder. In 13 short but evocative stories, unnamed, often lonely protagonists navigate situations both familiar and odd. In the title story, an adulterous man serves up garlic and confessions to a mysterious woman he hopes will expunge him of his guilt. Several stories depict outsiders%E2%80%94in "Tail," a woman's fear that she will never be understood or accepted manifest itself physically in a new and ponderous appendage; in "The Boy," a woman who worries she'll be forgotten after moving homes offers solace to a small, possibly imaginary visitor. These moments of grace and connection, such as the one seized on by the protagonist of "The New Plague," recur throughout. Just as often, however, the moments are elusive, such as in "The Girlfriend," a story about a young woman who foresees relationship doom each time she attends the family barbecues of her boyfriends. Unsettling imagery and hauntingly beautiful language characterize these stories, as ephemeral and indefinable as dreams. (Feb.)