Time for another short story collection! Since there are only seven stories in this collection I will give a few quick thoughts on each one. Ready? Go!
Bobcat – 4/5
This is a quiet story about marriages and relationships. A well written, but not very exciting start to the collection. The characters are well developed and easy to imagine as real people, but the story itself is a little uninteresting. This is my first time ever reading anything from Rebecca Lee, but after this story I can tell she has talent!
The Banks of the Vistula – 3/5
Maybe a generous 3/5. I like the writing, but I am not impressed with the characterization. The story is about a college student who plagiarizes her paper and how her professor deals with it. Realistic characters are a big selling point for me, but the characters in this one do not feel real. The students feel like pretentious caricatures of college life. I did not find the political content of the story to be very interesting. That is a very subjective complaint so I cannot hold it against it. It serves to illustrate the point of the story well, but it is not to my taste.
Slatland – 3/5
This one feels like a mixture of the first two stories- more cheating partners and academic life. A young woman suspects her fiance of writing to another woman. She learns to deal with problems in her life and understand the problems of others. I am not overly impressed with the characters in this one either. The story is interesting, but not particularly original.
Min – 4/5
This story is a mixture of political, social, and relationship issues. These themes are present in all of the stories so far. The collection is shaping up to be very interconnected which I like. I like the characters in this one and I am very interested in east Asian cultures so this story ticked the right boxes for me. For some reason it is not a five star read though. I cannot accurately explain why I feel that way, but the story lacks that little extra “oomph” to make it a favorite.
World Party – 4.5/5
Another theme of this collection appears to be academia. In “World Party” a group of college students have started to protest in ways that hurt themselves and a group of professors must decide whether or not to disband the group associated with the protest. The story follows one of the professors who is divorced and dealing with being a single mom to a very smart son. Again, the characters have personality even though some of them are only given a few lines of “screen time.” There are further events hinted at and, if the format were longer, could have been expanded on. This made me want more from the story, but in a good way.
Fialta – 4/5
A touching little romance about architecture students. This story features a diverse collection of characters that each had their own little triumphs and problems. I particularly enjoyed the writing in this one. I could easily imagine the landscapes, lighting, and artwork. Though Lee does description very well in her stories this one stood out to me. Maybe it was because of the emphasis on artwork and nature.
Settlers – 2/5
A bit of a disappointing end to the collection! This story is again about relationships and cheating with some references to events in recent history. The theme here appears to be settling for things in life or coming to terms with things instead of moving on (even though you may wish you could move on). Though it makes me think it is not anything profound and I feel like these concepts and plot devices have been used already in the previous stories.
In conclusion, I like Lee’s writing and the collection felt very cohesive. I wish that the overarching themes could have developed more diverse plot lines though. Even though I took some time between stories the characters and plots have blended together in my mind. Too many of the stories were so similar and many characters were forgettable. My average rating for this collection is a 3.5 which I will probably round down to a 3 star Goodreads rating. I’m a little disappointed, but Lee does write well. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading more of her work in the future.