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Dead Girls [Paperback]

Nancy Lee
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 22.99
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Book Description

April 16 2002
Infused with eroticism, poignancy, and insight that cuts to the bone, these stories lead us into a tipping world of emotional wagers, loss and discovery, power and impulse. A marriage is tested as a mother struggles to cope with the disappearance of her prostitute daughter. Two angry women in a minivan act out their frustrations as they rampage through the night. A pill-dependent nurse juggles neuroses, infatuation, and exhaustion while supervising a high school dance-a-thon. A quiet tattoo artist takes in a homeless woman, and stumbles upon the true nature of beauty, jealousy, and love. Written in taut, unflinching prose, these stories are edgy and dark, sharply observed and uniquely imagined. As provocative as it is brilliant, Dead Girls introduces Nancy Lee as an astonishing and original new literary talent.

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Dead Girls + Broken Ground + Jade Peony, The
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Product Description

From Amazon

Dead Girls, Nancy Lee's debut collection of short fiction, is an intense, morbid, and distinguished book. Revolving obliquely around the arrest of a serial killer (a retired dentist who lures prostitutes to his suburban home and buries them in his backyard), these stories chronicle brief moments in the lives of characters who exist at--or beyond--the edges of reason: maladjusted horny teenagers trading sexual favours on Valentine's Day, a lonely tattoo artist falling in love with (and growing impotent before) the homeless girl he takes in, a seemingly staid Vancouver mother growing increasingly desperate in the search for her prostitute daughter.

Lee's world is strongly reminiscent of Patrick Roscoe's The Truth About Love; the two books share a graveyard sensibility and compassionate melancholy. Roscoe's book is more adventurous, but Dead Girls has much to recommend it--these stories are consistently enthralling and sometimes surprisingly funny. The real merit of Dead Girls is just that--Nancy Lee's considerable ability to leaven dire, depressing stories with grace and gentle, appropriate humour. Despite its lurid title and seemingly garish subject matter, this is a pleasingly understated collection that is well worth reading. --Jack Illingworth

Review

“Dead Girls is among the bravest fictional debuts in recent memory and heralds the arrival of a bold and audacious new voice in Canadian writing.”
Quill and Quire

“These are moving and gripping stories – harsh, yet delivered with delicacy and compassion. They are from a young, new writer of conspicuous talent. Read them – and you will wake from a slumber you did not know you were in.”
–Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi

“Beautifully penned, intensely moving stories.… A masterwork of revelation and catharsis.…What a gift is Nancy Lee. No review can tell you.”
Globe and Mail

Dead Girls heralds the arrival of a bold and audacious new voice in Canadian writing…A disturbing, threatening, and ultimately thrilling debut.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

Dead Girls has a can’t-put-it-down urgency. It’s about survival and toughness – and when you least expect it, hope.”
Chatelaine

“These stories [have] a heart-stopping power.… Meticulously crafted, every element faceted and polished.…Dead Girls reveals Nancy Lee as a writer of uncanny abilities.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Lee has written a book that has an unforgettable sense of urgency. Remember the name.”
NOW (five-star review)

“How tender, beautiful, tragic and soulful these stories are. Nancy Lee creates poignant moments of utter darkness and somehow, miraculously, she fills them with pinpricks of hopeful light. This book may teach you something about yourself and the way you move through the world. I couldn’t put it down.”
–Michelle Berry

“Nancy Lee writes as a young writer should – fearlessly.…Dead Girls is a standout first collection.”
Edmonton Journal

“Her writing flows so eloquently, you don’t fully appreciate its sting until the sentence is over. Dead Girls is a powerful book perfectly in step with its time.…”
Georgia Straight

“Vibrant, startling, and – contradicting the book’s title – electrically alive.”
–Victoria Times Colonist

Dead Girls is a frighteningly accomplished book.”
Montreal Gazette

“Lee is a pure and fearless writer.”
Toronto Star

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Moving, Brilliant! Nov. 8 2002
Format:Paperback
My daughter kept insisting that I read this book. Her and I don't usually share the same taste in books -- she only reads books with ideas and social relevance, whereas I just like a good story. She won me over with this one though. I read the book in three sittings, which is quick for me because I have a very busy life. The stories were quite addictive -- it was impossible to begin one and not finish it. The characters were so memorable that I found myself thinking about them, worrying about them for days after. I had to tell myself several times, "Stop worrying about her, she's not even real." I'm not a big cryer, but I cried at the end of "Sally, In Parts" a story about a woman trying to connect with her father. I also had to fish out the kleenex for "Dead Girls" which was about a mother searching for her missing daughter whose a prostitute. Some mothers might be put off by the sex in the book, but none of it seemed gratuitous. I would say, don't be afraid of this book, although it goes to frightening places, it's a true exploration of the human condition. Especially the female condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It Might Just Change Your Life Oct. 10 2002
By lacey
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book because of it's gorgeous glossy cover and when I read the recommendation quote on the back, "you will wake from a slumber you did not know you were in" -- I thought, that's a pretty big claim for a book. But, boy, was it dead-on. These stories are chilling and gripping and full of amazing insight. This girl can write! My favourite stories were "Dead Girls" -- about a mother who searches for her drug-addicted, prostitute daughter and "Valentines" about three young teenagers who get into a whole lot of trouble -- I don't want to give anything away.
This book is so unlike anything I've read before. I'd recommended reading it from beginning to end instead of bouncing around from story to story because there's a sort of build that happens as you move through the book.
This book will make you think about stuff and people that you maybe haven't thought about before or haven't wanted to think about. I found myself wondering and worrying about the characters for a long time after finishing each story.
A truly fantastic book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars edgy, provocative, sensual Sept. 24 2002
Format:Paperback
"Dead Girls" is a selection of short stories set in Vancouver, British Columbia. the stories share a subtle background thread about the arrest of a serial killer which mirrors the real-life killing of prostitutes and the unearthing of graves on a Vancouver pig farm.
each story delves into relationships that are often awkward, strained, and extremely real. In "Sally, in Parts" a young woman's troubled bond with her dying father is revealed through the inventory of her body parts. "Rollie & Adele" is an endearing story about a sad tattoo artist who takes in a street girl whom he falls in love with, but due to his own pathetic insecurities cannot bring himself to touch. In the end he stumbles upon Adele having sex with one of his clients and unearths the true meaning of beauty and love when he finally allows himself to see her physical imperfections and realises she too is only human.
other stories include "Dead Girls", and "Sisters", both of which show the aftereffects of prostitution from the family who is left behind, as a mother struggles to deal with her daughter's disappearance by stalking prostitutes and a small-town girl travels to Vancouver to piece together the shadowed life of her estranged sister.
"Dead Girls" is boldly written in a voice that is provocative, edgy & fearless, revealing the grim truths of street life, prostitution, discovery & loss, truths that cut deep to the bone. one of the best books i've read in a while.
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4.0 out of 5 stars edgy, sensual, provocative Sept. 24 2002
Format:Paperback
while on vacation this summer in PEI driving down a winding dirt road with potatoe fields to the left and the muddy banks of the Atlantic to my right, i was listening to a CBC interview with Nancy Lee, author of the new book of short stories "Dead Girls".
the first thing that hooked me obviously was the title of the book. "Dead Girls". how very alluring. i found Nancy to be witty, articulate and completely genuine in her interview, which thus lead me to buy the brand new book on my return home (something i seldom do, unless buying an academic text for school, which is rare as i usually wait to buy them second hand).
"Dead Girls" is a selection of short stories set in Vancouver, British Columbia. the stories share a subtle background thread about the arrest of a serial killer which mirrors the real-life killing of prostitutes and the unearthing of graves on a Vancouver pig farm.
each story delves into relationships that are often awkward, strained, and extremely real. In "Sally, in Parts" a young woman's troubled bond with her dying father is revealed through the inventory of her body parts. "Rollie & Adele" is an endearing story about a sad tattoo artist who takes in a street girl whom he falls in love with, but due to his own pathetic insecurities cannot bring himself to touch. In the end he stumbles upon Adele having sex with one of his clients and unearths the true meaning of beauty and love when he finally allows himself to see her physical imperfections and realises she too is only human.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful
Beautiful, sensual, erotic, intelligent. I'd recommend not reading all the stories in one go. Take some time with this one, it'll make the writing and images seem all more real and... Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Girl Should Read This Book!
I'm not kidding when I say that. Other reviews have commented on how great the writing is, and I totally agree, but to me the most important thing about this book is that it's... Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2002 by "jwoo704"
5.0 out of 5 stars A compulsive, thrilling read
I've read the other reviews of this amazing book & they're bang on. This girl can write & these stories will move you. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2002 by Carmen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book You'll Remember
I don't usually read short story collections, but I had read about the murders in Vancouver and so thought this book would be a timely read. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2002 by George Getz
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Wait
It was a bit of a chore getting this book in my hands but so worth the wait. I was so deeply moved by the story Sally in Parts that I had to put the book away for a few days. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2002 by "aeryn47"
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Girls, Won't Bore You to Death
I picked up this book because of my interest in Canadian writers. I found my self engulfed from the moment I picked it up. Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2002 by Aileen Green
5.0 out of 5 stars A vituosic performance
Nancy Lee has written one of the finest, most delicately balanced and dark collection of stories I've come across, and though I usually would never write a review of a book that... Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2002 by "donkeye"
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
This book was recommended by several magazines so I picked it up. I wasn't sure what to expect, given the basis of the collection, but the stories are wonderfully written. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2002
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