Vancouver’s Dark Days by Stuart Anderson

by capreviewroom

Nancy Lee’s collection of short stories that make up Dead Girls are haunting, bold, cutting-edge, and disturbing. Lee weaves through the lives of women that are heavily influenced and affected by the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown East End. Dead Girls is broken up into eight different stories that examine what life is like working in, and being affected by Vancouver’s sex trade in a time of consumate fear and terror when there is a serial killer on the loose. Lee effortlessly transitions from story to story and life to life.

“Sally, In Parts” is probably the strongest story in this collection. Lee uses an interesting method by telling the story through the different parts of Sally’s body. Sally leads a promiscuous lifestyle that seperates herself from her family. This is a story many young girls can relate to and learn from. Sally has made all the wrong decisions in life which has led her to the step many problematic doors. Lee does a wonderful job of conveting the lifestyle Sally leads into a deep, layered, meaningful story.

This particular set of stories is extremely frightening because they parallel stories that are happening and have happened not far away from where the heart of downtown Vancouver is. Lee really pushes the point home to Vancouverite readers that no one is immune to the affects of what has happened to these women. They all haunt and disturb us in different ways, even if not directly affected by it.

Lee’s collection of short stories that make up Dead Girls are very important, if they are tough to battle through, as they reflect on the struggles that these women face with the lifestyles they have created or been forced into on the Downtown Vancouver East Side.


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