Rebecca Lee's new book is Bobcat and Other Stories.
From her Q & A with Matthew McAlister for Publishers Weekly:
Many of these stories focus on the ways we settle our lives into the expectations of others. What is it about settling that interests you?--Marshal Zeringue
I love that question. I love even the word “settle.” I used the word “settlers” as the title for the last story in my collection because the word connotes something so obviously trail-blazing and intrepid, as in the early settlers, but then it also implies something that we all desperately want to avoid—settling, compromising. There’s just a lot of life and philosophy bound up in that word. I’ve been rereading Henrik Ibsen lately—"A Doll’s House"—and I’ve been very taken with his idea that we are all acting out the parts assigned for us, often by the people who surround and love us—we’re all dolls in a doll’s house. That’s such a striking idea for me, and I think fiction in general likes to think about the interrelationships between people, the ways others might provide a sort of net for the identity but can also of course threaten it.
A few of these stories focus on characters in college, which is a transformative time, both intellectually and emotionally, but what else is it about the experience that you find ripe for narrative?
I love college campuses. In a way I grew up on one, as my dad was a chemistry professor, and I’ve spent the last 16 years at a state university in North Carolina. I find it interesting to be in the midst of ideas all the time, and there are arguments and discussions every day. Also, as in any business, there’s just a lot of things I find funny. Committees are funny, and we have a committee for everything. We have a committee called the “Adverse Weather Committee” and every time I hear that I laugh. We also, actually, have a committee to figure out how to have less committees. We....[read on]