Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, August 30, 2013

"The Banks of the Vistula" by Rebecca Lee (1997).

The Guardian this week named Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee as their pick for a top short story book of 2013.   I was very glad to find a link to one of the stories in the collection on the public web page of The Atlantic.  

author bio (from web page of Penguin)

Rebecca Lee is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The City Is a Rising Tide and the short story collection Bobcat and Other Stories. She has been published in The Atlantic and Zoetrope, and in 2001 she received a National Magazine Award for her short fiction. Originally from Saskatchewan, Lee is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is now a professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
My main purpose in this post is to let my readers know that one of Rebecca Lee's short stories can be read online.  "The Banks of Vistula" is set in a university.   A young female college student is taking a challenging class in psycholinguistics.  The professor is from Poland.  His background is a bit mysterious or even malevolent as he served as an officer in the Soviet Army when the occupied Poland.  The student finds and obscure book in the library, one know one has checked out in decades.  She copies a chapter nearly word for word and turns it in as her work.   The professor is convinced it is plagiarism and he calls her into the office.  She tells him it is her work but she did talk it over with her roommate.  The professor then wants to meet the roommate.  There are lots of great twists and turns in this story.  It gives us a great feel for academic life and its conflicts.   

I really liked this story and hope to read more of her work.

Mel u

1 comment:

knoxsox said...

Just want to say that this story has been an important part of my reading life during this difficult year (2021). I found it not through Rebecca Lee's print versions (in the collection entitled Bobcat, nor in The Atlantic's publication of the story), but through an audiobook entitled "Five Short Stories for Women" produced by L.A. Theater Works. Rarely do I re-read or replay stories, yet I've listened to this one more than a dozen times this year.

Four very distinct characters, which narrator Emily Bergyl portrays perfectly (especially when played at the sweet spot of 1.2x speed) and which Lee writes so well. Margaret, the Professor, her roomie Solveig and her love interest Hans are done so well, and that's just the start of the reasons to take in this story.