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Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

Bobcat and Other Stories

by Rebecca Lee

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
“As I walked home, I turned back and saw through the trees again that window, ringing with clarity and light above the dark grounds, the way the imagination shines above the dark world, as inaccessible as love, even as it casts its light all around.”

Bobcat and Other Stories is a collection of seven short stories. There is a softness to Lee’s writing and a melancholy that hangs over the book. The stories themselves give the impression that there is a before and after to each world, with the text nestled in between. It speaks to the skill of the author that Lee was able to populate worlds that are larger on the inside. The reader only dips in for a short moment in the lives of the characters but details in description and dialogue create the idea that events will continue to unfold long after the story is over. The endings however all have a truncated feel to them and rather than creating a desire for more content, it left me with the idea that they were incomplete or rushed.

Also the unity of voice throughout the stories was appreciated because they helped to create a cohesiveness to the book overall. But this also meant there was a tedious repetition to the protagonists in each story to the point where it was difficult to distinguish between them. It created the question of whether the stories were in some way connected as each was told through a first person perspective with themes of deception, academia, familial discord and writing. It appeared to be too much of a coincidence to keep finding similar ideas throughout each story but perhaps that was the reason for them to be collected together in this manner. Instead the only variance appeared to be in length of story. A wide array of characters and plots would have done more to showcase Lee’s range and abilities.

This would be a great option for a rainy day coffee read if you’re looking for some light and short reading. ( )
  theduckthief | Aug 12, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Superb collection of stories. I truly like Lee's style and was quite surprised by how well this volume came together!

I think I will revisit this in my library and hope Rebecca Lee writes another book soon
About 200 pages of quality SS with zero filler. Nice thematic variety overall

Do give this one a chance if you are a fan of this literary form. ( )
  IamAleem | Apr 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The short stories in 'Bobcat' take women and men along paths they do not want to travel, in the name of love, life, ambition and dreams. The language pulls you deep into tangled relationships and luminous landscapes. in the mundane settings of dinner parties and academic life people struggle with disappointments and betrayals. in Slatland a soil consultant hordes correspondence between her immigrant lover and a person from his homeland. Unable to read the foreign language she tries to decipher whether the writer is a sister or a left-behind wife, reluctant to face the truth. in the title story infidelity and betrayal form the backdrop to a dinner party where the lively conversation veers from topic to topic, including the story of one guest who lost an arm to a attack by a bobcat. A character in Min is tasked with arranging a marriage for a friend for whom she clearly feels something more than platonic love. ( )
  Course8 | Dec 12, 2016 |
4.5 stars. Just missed 5 stars due to some stories having an "unfinished" feeling. Lovely, lovely writing. ( )
  corioreo | Sep 16, 2016 |
Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee is a collection of seven short stories. The stories included are: Bobcat; Banks of the Vistula; Slatland; Min; World Party; Fialta; Settlers.
"Bobcat," the opening story, features a dinner party that foreshadows some unexpected results and entertains doubts about the veracity of more than one guest's story.
In "Banks of the Vistula" a student plagiarist is known but not quite revealed.
"Slatland" has a character who encounters the same therapist twice in her life under very different circumstances.
A young woman helps find a suitable spouse for her male best friend in "Min".
In "World Party" a committee composed of peers must rule on the behavior of another professor.
During a summer retreat at "Fialta" student architects learn more about life than academics.
The closing story, "Settlers," features close friends over several dinner parties, culminating in one unforgettable one.

All of these stories feature characters who are well educated. Many are involved in academia as students or professors. Lee's stories are all told from a first-person perspective as they delve into juxtaposed contrasting themes involving faithfulness, friendship, security, apathy, honesty, and relationships. The writing is richly descriptive and captures many nuances and layers of thought and meaning in each of the stories. Often it felt like what was at the edge of being said or revealed was looming over the seemingly everyday conversations between the characters.

In several cases, as I reached the end of a story I was filled with a sense of melancholy. The endings struck me as raw, unfinished, in a way because there was no definite conclusion, or, perhaps, overriding answer to some of the concerns of the characters or actions in the stories. It made each story sort of an exquisite little glimpse into only part of a life, never the whole. This created a sort of a "little Match Girl" syndrome for me; I was seeing these glimpses of brilliance that ended too soon and I wanted more. The quandary is, naturally, that giving me more would not necessarily equate a better story.

very highly recommended

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill via Netgalley for review purposes.

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Overall, this is a potent, quietly daring and sturdily imagined collection, rich with a subtlety in short supply in our current short-fiction landscape, where writers seem to settle for lobbing verbal grenades in the reader’s general direction. In stories like “Bobcat” and “Fialta,” there is the real sense of significance, as though a whole subway system’s worth of meaning is roaring beneath the text, ready to whisk the reader anywhere they need to go.
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Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through
Narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the gin he has for you?
—John Ashbery
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It was the terrine that got to me.
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Book description
At turns heartbreaking and wise, tender and wry, Bobcat and Other Stories establishes Rebecca Lee as one of the most powerful and original voices in Canadian literature.

A university student on her summer abroad is offered the unusual task of arranging a friend's marriage. Secret infidelities and one guest's dubious bobcat-related injury propel a Manhattan dinner party to its unexpected conclusion. Students at an elite architecture retreat seek the wisdom of their revered mentor but end up learning more about themselves and one another than about their shared craft.

In these acutely observed and scaldingly honest stories Lee gives us characters who are complex and flawed, cracking open their fragile beliefs and exposing the paradoxes that lie within their romantic and intellectual pursuits. Whether they're in the countryside of the American Midwest, on a dusty prairie road in Saskatchewan, or among the skyscrapers and voluptuous hills of Hong Kong, the terrain is never as difficult to navigate as their own histories and desires.
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"Rebecca Lee, one of our most gifted and original short story writers, guides readers into a range of landscapes, both foreign and domestic, crafting stories as rich as novels. A student plagiarizes a paper and holds fast to her alibi until she finds herself complicit in the resurrection of one professor's shadowy past. A dinner party becomes the occasion for the dissolution of more than one marriage. A woman is hired to find a wife for the one true soulmate she's ever found."--Amazon.com.… (more)

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