White Mythology is comprised of two novellas, both of which are concerned with the psycho-pathology of masculinity. In "Skinner Boxed" psychiatrist Edward Blanchette's personal life implodes just as his clinical trial for the experimental antidepressant drug "Alba" goes awry. The second piece, "Love's Alchemy" traces a series of interpersonal betrayals to their "birth" in a youthful game of "war". More
White Mythology is comprised of two novellas, "Skinner Boxed" and "Love’s Alchemy", which are linked by a shared thematic concern with the psycho-pathology of masculinity. The title is taken from an essay of the same name by Jacques Derrida.
"Skinner Boxed" follows the peregrinations of clinical psychiatrist and rationalist extraordinaire Dr. Ed Blanchette over three tortuous days in December, 1993, as he attempts to deal with the "disappearance" of a shopping-addicted wife and the reappearance of a "son" who had been given up for adoption 27 years previously. Additionally, although both his professional and personal lives threaten to tag-team him into oblivion (as the absconded wife’s credit card paper-trail grows ever longer and his clinical trial for the experimental psychiatric drug "Alba" begins to misfire badly), Dr. Ed seems more interested in what his wife may or may not have done with his best friend, Max, who has also disappeared.
"Love’s Alchemy" takes its title from the cynical love poem of the same name by John Donne, and its central motif from the true story of a Canadian political speech-writer who was compelled to urinate into every river that, in his travels, he "discovered". The novella features a cast of a half-dozen characters, all of whom are causally linked to one another over the years 1977-1997 by various acts of betrayal. For instance, fourteen-year-old Gerald poisons his teacher’s plants with help from his best friend Vic, while Vic is himself observed by Gerald’s brother, Isaac, "undermining" a "war game" that Gerald had organized. Years later Isaac himself falls in love with his brother’s girlfriend, Suzie. Suzie, guilt-ridden and conflicted, escapes to Japan and is pursued there by the aforementioned speech-writer, who happens to be seated next to Gerald’s childhood friend, Vic. Vic and the speech-writer swap stories . . . .