Imagine you're given the startling news that your body is only capable of having six more orgasms. "It's either buck up or fuck up," decides Mel in "Six Degrees of Altered Sensation," adding this new restraint to the perplexity of single life with progressive Multiple Sclerosis. In "Flickering," Francis becomes a pyromaniac in order to give her grown sons the opportunity to become heroes. Mundane directions for propane use parallel a brief sizzling affair in "Dick & Jane & the Barbecue and No, It's Not a Love Story."
Altered and twisted realities make the impossible possible for Clark's characters. Lillian, an arthritic senior in "Solitaire," discovers the rejuvenating properties of the bones of her lively, new young neighbour. Looming dementia is replaced by ravenous desire. In "Split Ends" a woman finds a book that contains her own memories, but it is written by a stranger with the same name; in "No U's," a woman slips away through the mail slot to escape her stagnant life.
Ranging from micro-fiction to near maxi-fiction, the stories in Attemptations are peopled by women, often physically challenged women—darkly humourous, feisty, sexy, manic, persevering, observant, contemplative women. These characters will snag you and hold you there 'til they're good and done.
The writing is refreshing and far from ordinary even while describing ordinary events. Clark, who is also a poet, appears to delight in her own word wizardry and readers get to share in that delight. … Quirky, darkly humorous and not quickly forgotten.