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Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee
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Bobcat and Other Stories (edition 2012)

by Rebecca Lee

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2053957,211 (3.88)23
Member:vancouverdeb
Title:Bobcat and Other Stories
Authors:Rebecca Lee
Info:HAMISH HAMILTON CA (2012), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Canadian, short stories, academia, students, professors, university, fiction, literary fiction

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Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
What a great set of shorts by Rebecca Lee. The themes hang together mainly in the form of liars and cheaters all under the guise of the educated elite. She writes what she knows, setting many of her stories in the hallways of academe or close by. Her use of language is so intricate, "he had a beautiful old man's face, God and time and mortality working its way over it." she writes about a remembered childhood Lutheran Pastor. Physical deformity is often in her stories in the form of tics, missing limbs, and limping walks. Some hint at the deformities of the soul and others are obstacles to be overcome. I loved the story that give the book its name. A story about a dinner party gone wrong and a narrator who doesn't put two and tow together soon enough. However, I think my favorite is "The Banks of the Vistula" about a young freshman who blatantly plagiarizes a book full of Russian Soviet propaganda and the polish professor who knows. It has wonderful plot twists and turns. I actually reread several of them today and it prompted my to write the review. They a worth both a read and a reread. ( )
  jenn_stringer | Oct 17, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Rebecca Lee is the kind of author who weaves words into art so lovely you’ll be bewitched by her language even when her stories don’t have the impact you wish they did.

Set mainly in academia, Lee’s short stories are of “infidelity, obligation, sacrifice, jealousy, and . . . optimism.”

Read this if: you’re an admirer of words and beautiful sentence structure; or you enjoy intelligent insights into university life. 3½ stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Jul 12, 2014 |
I liked it—and loved the writing—but by the end I couldn't help wishing for a little more reach on Lee's part. She's a very skillful craftsman, and I would have liked to see her explore a wider literary universe, because there was a certain sameness to the milieu of each story. The two kinds of very circumscribed universes—academia, and tenderly tenuous relationships—got to feeling a bit claustrophobic after a while. That said, the first story was a knockout, a little jeweler's setting of fears, and the second and last—really, all of these were very good. I think if I had my druthers I'd have rather read them separately, in different publications, over the course of a year or two than in one collection, because they got lost in each other's shadows a bit. But the work is topnotch, and I'm interested to see where she goes from here. ( )
  lisapeet | Feb 20, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The inimitable n+1 magazine talks about literary fiction at the present time as being a matter of "MFA vs. NYC": two solitudes consisting of those particular bookworlds and their preoccupations (one internal, small-is-beautiful, feelingsy; the other ballsy, all-the-world's-a-stagey, often interested in personal stories only or predominantly in terms of the historical or social processes they embody; one could go on, of course, but the point was that both feel arid sometimes.

After reading Rebecca Lee's stories, which are certainly MFA-ey (all but one take place on university campuses) but which try with moderate success to adopt an NYC-ey detachment (she is excellent at sketching many diverting types from the outside, but not so much at getting inside or protagonizing them without protagonistically making them into the same person, I suspect someone much like herself), I can conclude that at least one thing MFA and NYC have in common is a deep interest in who's sleeping with whom. But she doesn't make it seem too gossipy, and all the characters are basically decent which is nice, and these were well crafted and if I am starting to forget them like so much "the fruits of one's fellow writing workshop participants," that says less about Lee's good work and more about the fundamental unseriousness with which I live my own life--and who says anyway that we shouldn't meet our authors amid the turmoil of this life just to embrace once and then depart and forget? ( )
2 vote MeditationesMartini | Dec 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I read a collection of stories like this and I get the feeling that the author really wants to show me how good of a writer she (thinks) she is, and secondary to that, tertiary perhaps, way down the list, is any interest at all in actually telling me a good story. She's a skilled writer, no doubt about it, but I'm just not sure I'm interested in anything she has to write about. -KA ( )
  invisiblelizard | Dec 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (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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Epigraph
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)

(summary from another edition)

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