Neurotic, broken, lonely, desperate, longing people fill these stories. Many of them tell of doomed relationships, character studies in failure. A brilliant collection chock full of unreliable narrators and painful truths.
"Ants" -- Great opening paragraph. Interesting POV choice. It's the story of Marc, but told in flashbacks by his lover Caroline. I get the impression in the brief flashes we see of Marc and Caroline's relationship that all is not well. Does that make Caroline an unreliable narrator? And is Caroline meant to be the woman in the final scene? If so, she's now referring to herself in the third person -- perhaps because she no longer recognizes the person once so enamored of Marc? Many questions.
"Walking" -- The yearning in this story is beautiful, desperate, and a bit poignant. I have lived this story -- not its plot, but its emotions. It may be my favorite of Treat's stories.
"Honda" -- A novella that presents a slowly escalating portrait of mental illness and disconnection. But there's always this sense that this could be any one of us if loneliness drove us across that line that separates fantasy from reality.
"Not A Chance" -- This story made me cry.
"Dead End" -- Yes!
"Nicaraguan Birds" -- A bittersweet story of hope and disappointment. I love the image of the packed suitcase in the closet, always there, always waiting, but never used.
"His Sweater" -- This one I read as a story about self-fulfilling prophecies, how if we believe no one will love us, no one will. The narrator tests her lover and she expects him to fail, maybe even secretly wants him to fail, and so he does. Because how can anyone love if they're not trusted? She wants to be the center of his world, wants him to move heaven and earth to find her when she's run away, because it's only if he deems her worthy of love that she'll believe she is. She wanted to be worthy, but she failed. Now she's left only with memory and illusion and a sweater that isn't even his. It's sad.
"The Summer of Zubeyde" -- Did I detect an homage to the opening paragraph of Lolita
? Longing for another person doesn't have to be romantic to become obsessive in this story, especially when it's bound to a sense of failure.
"Radio Disturbance" -- Mildly creepy story about a patient's relationship to her therapist. Needless to say, it goes awry by the end.