The images in Trinie Dalton’s fiction carry heavy dramatic weight and, at times, seem poised on the edge of meaninglessness. In ‘Millennium Chill’, a story in her new Baby Geisha collection, the main character is at sea in her house, among an abundance of clothing. While the protagonist cleans out her dressers, a homeless woman spies the bounty of sweaters, and our heroine decides to hand her one. A few days later, the lady is back, asking for bagel chips. Like many of the stories here, the narrative skates between the absurd and prosaic. The elephant in her dream is freighted with meaning and is also the clichéd elephant in the room: the guilt and cheap reward of giving only slightly to the poor.
In ‘Pura Vida’, a journalist travels to Costa Rica to report on healing clinics that allow people to sleep in hammocks with sloths. The story derives its tension from the tightly wound journalist, unable to derive joy from her work life and unable to pinpoint why. Though some of the more surreal and absurd moments in Dalton’s work get the headlines, it’s the quieter moments like these that shout the loudest.