Thursday, July 18, 2013
Book Review: "Bobcat and Other Stories" by Rebecca Lee
After reading her collection Bobcat and Other Stories, I can unequivocally say that Rebecca Lee is an excellent storyteller. Nearly all of her main characters are emotionally vulnerable in some way, whether because of something they did themselves or because of the situations around them. Lee grips you quickly, draws you deeper and deeper into the story slowly, and often surprises you with the outcome, but even when you see the ending coming, the stories are almost always tremendously satisfying and resonate with you.
Of the seven stories in Lee's collection, I absolutely loved five of them, while one story in particular irritated me a bit because of the idiosyncrasies of a particular character that was core to the story. In the title story, Bobcat, a dinner party is the catalyst for self-discovery and the turning point for two marriages. A woman finds herself in Hong Kong, being hired by her friend's father to find her friend a wife in the emotionally rich Min. In Fialta, an aspiring architect gets to do an apprenticeship with a legendary architect and finds himself battling his mentor for the love of a fellow apprentice. And in World Party, a woman's anxiety about her young son is juxtaposed with her serving on a faculty hearings committee evaluating whether a fellow professor (whom she is attracted to) is responsible for a group of student protestors going on a hunger strike.
I really enjoyed the way Lee moved between the present and the future in many of her stories, as if the characters actually had the gift of foresight. These stories are tremendously intriguing, rich in characterization and plot, and simply beautifully written. If you're a fan of short stories, definitely pick this collection up and be ready to marvel.