Fifteen works of short fiction ranging in length from the vignette to the (almost) novella, in style from the realistic to the surreal, and in tone from serious to lighthearted.
In the eponymous opening story, two lovers have dinner at a restaurant—though counting their shadow selves who are having an affair, there are four at the table. The story is presented as a screenplay, and the dialogue gets increasingly intricate as the lovers have their tête-à- tête. In the exquisitely tender “The Chair,” a married couple buys an armchair from an old man at a flea market, and when he delivers it, they discover through his emotional reaction how much the chair means to him. “The Allure of All This” introduces us to Anderson, who works in the men’s section of a department store. In a plot worthy of The Twilight Zone, he moves from an emotionally unsatisfying relationship with his wife, Ermalinda, and falls in love with Mia—a bit unusual because she’s a department store mannequin. In Anderson’s imaginative life, they have far deeper conversations than he has ever had with Ermalinda. “Neighbors” is the longest story in the collection and one of the most fully developed. Lana and Finn have recently moved to Louisville and are trying to be friendly with their neighbors, an older couple named Olivia and Burton. Sexual tensions and jealousies develop—or are they merely in Finn’s mind?
Slomski is a writer’s writer, with a gift for lyrical prose, clever plotting and significant detail that reveals depth of character.