Arsenal Pulp Press
Bath also captures character and place well. From “Bottle Episode”: “‘Enchantay, enchantay,’ says Warren, chewing his fruit log and spraying a little spit.” In her description of Tokyo, we read that it is dangerous “Not like losing your wallet or being raped in an alleyway; more like a feral thing cooped inside one of those plastic balls from bubble-gum machines.” It’s a resonant, intricately spun image.
Most of her stories move in and out of a narrator’s interior psychic space. Figuring out one’s place in society and the meaning of connectedness are central concerns throughout the book. Observations like “sleep is a familiar place,” or “I’m so happy to be here that I’m confused” lend the various narrators and characters depth and sensitivity. “Operculum,” the concluding story, is the best example in the book of descent into a narrator’s conflicted subconscious. Repetition works well to represent the dream landscape, which is often interrupted by prevailing realities.
Bath, who works best in the non-fragmented narrative mode, has compiled an engaging set of short stories with many instances of insight. mRb