Allison grew up way out in the sticks in Southern USA, where thrashings, violence, drinking, and incest were part of saily life in her large, white-trash family. Despite all this, her dysfunctional family stuck together in a bizarre way and perhaps there was even love between the some of the family members.
As a young grown up Dorothy Allison goes far, far away and manages to get into college and break her social heritage. At university she comes out of the closet, and some of the short stories are about her life as a lesbian in USA in the 1970's.
The short stories can stand alone, but are best if all of them are read. Like I said, it is pretty hard core reading and some of the short stories are most definitely not for weak souls.
Allison's style is a little 70's-ish and her poems were not my cup of tea. But Trash is still a strong book I want to read again at some point.