Meat Eaters & Plant Eaters, Jessica Treat's third collection of stories, shows her to be as much a master of the short-short story form in rural North America as in the urban milieu. Regardless of the terrain, in Treat's stories what was once familiar is suddenly less so. Ever concerned with relationships, with the tension between what lies on the surface and what remains hidden, these stories explore the territory between estranged husband and wife, mother and son, new and well-worn lovers, girlfriends, as well as those relationships we maintain with our pets and our cars. Treat's prose is at once sensual and cerebral, precise and mysterious. Her stories invite the reader in, only to make them complicit in a transgressive act, real or imagined: adultery, trespass, sexual jealousy. Her dark humor and portrayal of consciousness recall authors as diverse as Clarice Lispector, Anna Kavan, and Lydia Davis. Comic, skillful and menacing, the stories in Meat Eaters & Plant Eaters haunt us long after we’ve fallen under their spell.
"In her skillful third collection, Treat offers short, sharp glimpses into her characters’ yawning existential anxiety." --Publishers Weekly
"When you turn the last page and close the book, you will still be thinking of Meat Eaters and Plant Eaters." --Connecticutt Muse
A Visit (excerpt)
The telephone rang while he was running the vacuum cleaner. He didn’t know this until later—so loud was the noise of the Electrolux and so concentrated was he on the task at hand: getting the cat’s fur off the carpet, the bits and twigs and leaves dragged from outside, the ash from cigarettes. He needed it to look good when she arrived; he needed to feel everything was in order for the evening to proceed well: the house clean, dishes done, leaves raked outside. She would arrive and they would talk, as they did the last time, sitting side by side on the couch. He’d offer her tea and figs, later he’d make dinner and then she would or wouldn’t spend the night. She hadn’t yet done that. He would see if he wanted her to. He hadn’t yet. Wanted her to. That could change of course. He knew that.
©BOA Editions, Ltd 2009
Publishing Date: June 2009