Macabre and morose, there is a nightmarish quality to the set of stories which form a part of this collection. Reality is constantly subverted and re-imagined in the mind of the narrators, whose feeling of paranoia is perpetuated by those around them; so the narrator of ‘The Resident’ feels cloistered in the claustrophobic atmosphere of an artist colony and so the narrator of ‘The Woman Stitch’ feels repressed by the desire of the men in her life to own every sing piece of her and to take away any sense of privacy they have and in ‘Real Women Have Bodies’ the bodies of women across the world are slowly fading away/.
The sense of weirdness which pervades the stories imbues them with a fairy tale quality, as many of them come across as parables for the role of women in society and the representation of queerness in both society and literature and so the frequent depictions of sex have a matter-of-fact, almost disinterested quality to them as, like many other things in the novel, they come to represent something else, especially around how women’s bodies are routinely objectified in mainstream society and media.
Indeed perhaps the greatest strength of the stories is their ability to fuse a surreal and fantastical atmosphere with an important social message and allow the reader to question norms around both women and homosexuality. Although the quality of the stories can be somewhat uneven, there is no questioning their originality and ability to subvert stereotypes.