There is no question that Zarina Zabrisky’s new collection of short prose, ‘Iron’, is a remarkable book. Zabrisky works with such an exactitude, a highly- tuned sensual awareness, with powerfully charged metaphor and a keen perceptual intelligence throughout. These are stories of the surreal and of the absurdly living, breathing flesh, highly-charged and colourful cinematic tales evoking empathy with the central characters. Zabrisky makes no value judgement of the human condition and its experience, things ‘just are’, and survival is necessary, whatever the cost may be. There are no victims here, we are just passing bodies, juxtaposed against or contained within scenes, the essential humanity of the central heroines revealed in the beautiful testimonies with which she lays bare through her snap-shots of the ‘life less lived’. Zabrisky writes in such a manner as to, at once sparsely and then richly, seduce the reader, seemingly effortlessly, then strikes and one is left in the grip of her kaleidoscopic calamities: drug abuse/ hallucinogenic collapse/ desperation/ death/ danger/ yet still there is hope, in spite of... The delivery and timing building unto one of some elusive revelation that only she and the reader knows, albeit separately, the endings leaving our willing submersion open, as if slowly opening unto a fading distance, yet lingering, unfettered by definition.