Dead Girls, by Nancy Lee is a novel that will shock and surprise readers with it’s vivid and strong set of characters and narration that at first glance seems confusing, but manages to give more meaning to these loosely connected short stories. Dead Girls makes a bold leading motif that will captivate readers.
The characters in Dead Girls strongly bound by Lee’s description of emotional pain and conflict. All stories are of young women in Vancouver facing with the emotional peril and ruthlessness of relationships, sex, loss, and despair. Grace in “Sisters” must deal with her broken heart after her older sister, Nina unintentionally hooks up with her crush, Kevin, and must take bigger responsibilities when Nina leaves the house to her and her mother alone. In “Associated Press” A girl is faced with emotional attachment to a boy overseas conflicting with her sexual intimacies. The strong sense of reality in all the characters set a chilling extraordinary novel to read.
The narration in Dead Girls well thought using a variety of sorts that does not confuse, but immerses the reader in the collection of short stories. In “Rollie and Adele” for example, reverses the chronology order. “Associated Press” is written in a second-person point of view with good effectiveness, while “Sally, in Parts” uses anatomy to narrate the relationship between a young woman and her father and her advancing sexual nature. All of these artistic jumps aid to the impact of the narration and bring Lee’s characters to life.
In all stories, except “Sisters” there is a mentioning of a investigation of remains of a number of murdered women found in the yard of a Vancouver dentist. The whole story of this is never told and is spread out in bits such as news and rumours. The murders are mysterious and eerie due to their absence and little recognition. Dead Girls is a thrilling, unnerving and wily novel.
– Review by Michael Nguyen