Bobcat & Other Stories

It came to my attention today that a book that I read an ARC of a few months ago was released this week and I never reviewed it. There was a time that I wrote about each book I finished - I don't know that I even want to call what I do "book reviewing" because I feel like I totally suck at doing it in any sort of professional way, but still. I am a writer and I feel like it's my duty to review the books I read because it's going to be so important for people to do that for my books once they are published.

Unfortunately, the problem is like I said, it's been months since I've read this book and a lot of other great books that deserve my time and thoughts of reflection and recommendation, so I am going to try to do my best to catch up on some of the 26 books I've already read this year.

From Goodreads: At turns heartbreaking and wise, tender and wry, Bobcat and Other Storiesestablishes 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. 

Thank goodness for Goodreads, because now I remember a little more about reading this book and what I thought of it.

I remember that at the time I picked up this ARC from Monte Cristo, I was in the mood for short stories. I do love short stories, but I am often frustrated with them and annoyed by them because I am so bad at writing them myself. I can write flash fiction until the cows come home, but get me to write a coherent short story with all the parts and not let it balloon to novella length? Yeah right.

Anyway, what I remember about Rebecca Lee's stories was how I felt about the characters, and how I could picture myself in their shoes, and in doing so I realized how messed up the situations were that the characters were in. I remember one story that was about a woman who traveled with a friend to help him and his father set him up an arranged marriage, and another story, the first in the book, that involved every relationship unraveling horribly at a dinner party. Each of the stories were subtly strange, and the ordinary situations seemed somehow extraordinary.

The writing was beautiful, the prose tight - there were no extra words that I remember, and it was anything but boring, which is sometimes the problem with books of short stories.

I would definitely recommend this to someone who likes short fiction that is sharp, current and normalish. Meaning, this book of stories was just straight up literary fiction, no horror or sci-fi or any of that stuff I usually like, so it was out of my normal comfort range. All the more reason to believe how much I liked this little book.

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