Be prepared: Oh Baby, Kim Chinquee’s debut collection, will knock you on your ass.
It’s a book about love: mother for child; child for mother, for father; man for woman; woman for man and man and man. Love for running. Love for vodka.
It’s a book about women: a runner, an artist, a nurse, a mother, a girlfriend, a wife, a daughter, a friend. A drawer of blood.
A woman who lives in England, in the midwest, in some nameless place.
But mostly, it’s a book about identity in which the author constantly scrutinizes these women to find out which one is the one. In “Purple” she asks: “Me, who was I?” and then never answers the question. And then in “Wig” she talks of buying a wig and says: “When I got back to the hotel, I put it on and thought I looked like Kim Chinquee.”
And this is what we’re all looking for: that time and place where we most feel like ourselves. When we are no longer pretending and donning our wigs. Do we ever find it?
Taken seperately, these stories will hurt you; taken together as one in this collection, they will clobber you and rob you of your breath.