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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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2534545,261 (3.94)24
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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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 |
Dreamy, piercing shorts, about desire, contentment and the balance between them. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
Worth a re-read - I think there was lots I missed as I was tearing through it. I'll be checking out other works by the author. Her style is lovely. Perfect cadence for short stories: left me wanting more but I still felt fulfilled at the end of each piece. The first story in this collection is superb. ( )
  cyrenitis | Dec 2, 2015 |
Each of the stories is different. The writing is lyrical without being flamboyant. At the end of each story, I felt that there was a deeper message that seemed just out of reach, but that I would be able to grasp it by reading it again after some time.
( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
Wonderful, thought-provoking collection of stories that are beautifully written. I Look forward to reading her next book! ( )
  Icewineanne | May 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (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
Dedication
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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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