Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee


“If you have ever felt that the table at which you sit contains everything and everybody that matters to you, like a little boat, then you know how I felt. It doesn’t feel secure at all, but rather a little tipsy. It is unnerving to love a single place so much. There are no anchors to the world outside, the cities in the distance, the country around you. There is just this: the six of you afloat so happily in the temporary day.”


Review: This realist collection of 6 stories really took me by surprise and I sped through it in a day which I rarely do with a collection. These stories don’t have a fastidious plot but are exquisitely conceived character studies and the longer length of these stories (30-40 pages) affords a sense of completion in each. While there isn’t a categorical theme that unites this collection, most have an academic setting following either a student or a professor, sprinkled with ideas ranging from unrequited love to communism.


Lee’s writing is immaculate. There’s a simplicity to her style that feels effortless, evocative and is such a pleasure to read. Some of my favourites were, Bobcat, the title story, which follows a diverse cast of characters in a dinner party. It carefully unravels the dissolution of a marriage, of truths unsaid, interweaving interesting discussions of a lively dinner table. In Min, a young woman is tasked with finding a suitable bride for an arranged marriage of her best friend whom she is secretly in love with. On the Banks of Vistula is a story of a college student who plagiarises an academic essay propagating communist ideas arousing the suspicion of her professor.


While there weren’t any duds in the collection, some stories were certainly more interesting than others. A scan through on Goodreads reviews made me realise how everyone has pointed out different stories as their favourites and I think that’s a great testament for a worthy collection. I would recommend this highly to readers of literary fiction who aren’t particularly drawn to short stories, as these stories are longer with a primary focus on characters.


Rating: 4/5


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