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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 contemporary fiction.
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.
The Banks of the Vistula
‘Bobcat and Other Stories is nothing short of brilliant. Rebecca Lee writes with the unflinching, cumulatively devastating precision of Chekhov and Munro, peeling back layer after layer of illusion until we’re left with the truth of ourselves … This extraordinary story collection is sure to confirm its author as one of the best writers of her generation.’
‘Mesmirisingly strange…Full of shivers and frissions…highly imaginative stories…[Lee’s] eccentric eloquence…makes Bobcat so potent and powerful.’
‘In all these stories, confused, sometimes misdirected men and women struggle to figure out their places in the world, stumble into often unhappy situations and sometimes, to their great misfortune, get exactly what they were hoping for…Lee captures little pieces of all of us and she does it in language so delicate and precise that you’ll re-read passages for the joy of it. ’
‘Slim, sly and brilliant.’
‘Lee writes with an unflinching eye toward the darkest and saddest aspects of life, often finding humor where least expected. This fresh, provocative collection, peerless in its vehement elucidation of contemporary foibles, is not to be missed. ’
‘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.’
‘Make some room in your tote bag for this [book] by a prodigiously talented writer, Rebecca Lee. Her work is at once effortless and exacting, sophisticated and ribald.’
‘Rebecca Lee makes an enormous impression with her new collection of stories. No less than Jonathan Franzen has praised her work as “beautiful and insane and unlike any other” and indeed it proves witty and wise on every page. Lee has a keen ear for natural dialogue, and her tales hinge on such fruitful premises and sympathetic characters that each one could easily grow into much more than a short story.’
‘[Lee] offers a powerful collection that makes us look within while acutely describing everyday situations.’
‘[Lee’s] writing and her view of life site between John Updike and Grace Paley, and her observations have a sharp-eyed gentleness.’
‘While her stories vary wildly in plot, they’re all sharp and funny, with enchanting characters.’