A Cutting Commentary on Life – Jeannine Johnstone

by capreviewroom

Dead Girls is a collection of eight short stories set in Vancouver by Nancy Lee, a Canadian writer who received an M.F.A in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, and now teaches at Simon Fraser University in the Writing and Publishing program. The stories are packed full with eroticism, and cutting commentary on the hardships of life. Nancy writes without holding anything back giving the reader a complete look into the lives of many different women in a variety of situations in different parts all over Vancouver.

Lee has said that she feels the collection is like a concept album; each story stands on its own but they are all united by one theme. In this case the theme is quite morbid as it is the arrest of a serial killer who was found to have murdered many women, who were prostitutes, and put their bodies into a mass grave where it was then found by someone’s dog. Lee pulls the reader through many emotions with the touching stories of women in Vancouver including a girl from the street who is taken in by a young male tattoo artist, to a mother who looks for her missing prostitute daughter while her daughter’s disappearance tears her marriage apart, as well as many more women in many different and negative situations, showing a darker and grittier side of Vancouver than people are used to seeing.

The plots as well as the characters Lee has created in each story are beautifully done, letting the reader really see what the characters are seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling while still allowing for some creative licence on the readers part. Depending on what Lee wants the reader to see she has written each story in different ways including different points of view giving the collection a unique and realistic feeling.

Nancy has said that she likes a book that grabs onto your throat and refuses to let go, well Nancy has achieved that in this book. This is a must read for someone looking for a quick read that will touch their heart in many different ways while making them think. 

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