The Goldfish Dancer

by Patricia Robertson

(Biblioasis,158 pages, $24.95 softcover)

In this collection of short stories by Whitehorse writer Patricia Robertson, the emphasis is on dislocation and the exotic. Characters drift through adventures they are unable to either fully understand or communicate.

The language, whether it's Spanish in the story Graves of the Heroes or the secret alphabet of goldfish in the title story, fails them.

Even England, where one young heroine heads off to work "because it wasn't so foreign," turns out to be a dangerous destination that leaves her "tilted and off-centre."

With shimmering emotional understatement, the experience of vulnerability and otherness is precisely evoked in stories as eccentric as they are refined.