Double Dutch

The nine stories in Canadian author Laura Trunkey's debut collection, Double Dutch, are fantastical and eerie, filled with sentiments and descriptions that will haunt the reader. While the tales are fiction, some are based on facts, as in "Electrocuting the Elephant," which depicts the execution of Topsy the elephant at the hands of Thomas Edison. Trunkey expertly takes readers into the mindset of several of the men involved in the decision, as well as that of the pachyderm preparing for death in front of a crowd.

Death, miracles, a debilitating disease and dread of the unknown are some of the themes Trunkey explores in her unusual stories. In "Night Terror," a mother fears her son is the reincarnation of a Muslim terrorist when she hears him muttering Arabic in his sleep. In "Double Dutch," a man ponders the meaning of his life after spending so much of it as the double for former president Ronald Reagan. A grizzly bear attack changes the course of a couple's life together in "Ursus Arctos Horribilis." Ordinary people enter extraordinary circumstances, and their reactions betray the prejudices, beliefs and suspicions that they carry deep inside.

Trunkey's writing is raw. She approaches subjects obliquely, sending readers on unexpected tangents, but the effect leaves a deep impression of wonder and fascination, touched with a longing for the next collection from this talented writer. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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