Sunday, 1 February 2015

'Bobcat & Other Stories' by Rebecca Lee (****)

Happy Sunday, readers! Today I have a book review for you, this time Rebecca Lee's beautiful book of short stories, Bobcat! I have wanted to read this for a while but haven't quite gotten the chance, so finally I am glad to be sharing it with you! At the moment I am busy preparing my creative writing portfolio for the University of Manchester, and for part of this I have to write a short story, so not only was Bobcat a captivating and highly enjoyable read, but it also helped me grasp how to write a great short story! I was sent Bobcat in exchange for an honest review. 

Intrigued? Here's the blurb...

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 thing I loved about this beautiful collection of short stories was that they were all so incredibly diverse, dealing with a wide array of issues and settings, but they all aimed to discover the crux of ultimately, what it means to be human. The complex and utterly intriguing cast of characters were all so different, yet I found myself drawing similarities between them as their lives, dreams and innermost sense of selves were laid out in front of us, the reader. Set against beguiling and disparate landscapes and worlds, the short stories each in turn fascinated me and allowed me to wonder at the lives of the character's, and what would happen after the story had finished.

Lee's language was carefully crafted and beautifully written, and the thing I most enjoyed was the way she used listing to describe her characters when we were first introduced to them. It was an interesting and engaging way to reveal to the readers what we needed to know about her characters, without fancy metaphors and similes. It was simple, yet utterly effective. Overall, her way of writing replicated what I thought was the point of the whole collection: what it means to be human. At first glance we are simple, intelligent beings; yet underneath everything lies the capability to break hearts, crack jokes and aim to discover the very point of our existence. This was so cleverly captured in Lee's writing, and it held me fascinated until the very end of the collection.

As my first experience of a short story collection goes, I couldn't have wished for any better. Lee's collection was tender, hilarious, intelligent and completely beautiful. The language, coupled with the complex and engaging characters, made the collection what it was. I would thoroughly recommend this collection to all, whether you have had experiences of short stories or not!

Check out Rebecca Lee's Bobcat & Other Stories here:

Until next time :)

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