cover image Bobcat and Other Stories

Bobcat and Other Stories

Rebecca Lee. Algonquin, $14.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61620-173-9

This first collection of stories by the author of The City Is a Rising Tide microscopically examines the familiar motifs of infidelity, apathy, and unrequited love, revealing through each incisive tale deeper, novelistic layers of humanity and truth. Each of Lee’s stories is told from a first-person perspective, and many of them take place on college campuses. They are all centered on unique and arresting set-pieces and showcase astonishing prose: as the dinner party in the title story disintegrates multiple marriages, the meal “is revealed as a collection of crazy bones”; in “The Banks of the Vistula,” a student plagiarizes her paper, accidentally revealing the shadowy past of her professor who “looked like a dream one might have in childhood”; and in the final, heartrending story, “Settlers,” which is also the collection’s shortest, a woman in the middle of a protracted miscarriage considers her baby, “with a heartbeat measuring once a minute, like one of those sea creatures that live at the floor of the ocean.” 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. Agent: (June)