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By Nancy Lee

“Nancy Lee gives us beautifully penned, intensely moving stories in this debut collection. . . [Dead Girls] does what the best art does: It makes you see in revelatory bursts how everything is connected, and that this collective human linkage of experience, of cause and effect and responsibility, is the wonder and tragedy of our condition. . . .You’ll weep at these tales, you’ll feel the rise of anger and despair, you may even want to close the book and do something to recover yourself–in fact, I’d recommend it. Incremental reading enhances the writing’s power. I also discovered that closing the book had no similarity to shutting off the TV, nor did going back to it have anything to do with prurience, with that ambivalent draw to the horrific. If I set the book aside to recover hope, each time I came back to find my own inviolable humanity. What a gift is Nancy Lee. No review can tell you.”
The Globe and Mail


Lee_Dead Girls

Dead Girls by Nancy Lee is a series of linked stories set against the background of a serial killer in East Vancouver. The story of a mother who must find out if her prostitute daughter is one of many who have been discovered buried in a man’s backyard, triggered a series of other stories and the idea of “disposable” women in our society – a drug-addicted nurse supervises a high school dance-a-thon, a teenager pays to have sex with his best friend’s girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, a librarian begins a sadomasochistic love affair to distance herself from the savage misery of the world. The background events–the arrest of a serial killer, the exhumation of a mass grave, trial and imprisonment — work to cast a shadow over the individual stories, a hovering reminder of the anonymous violent exchanges that surround, and perhaps, define us.

“This collection of subtly linked tales is at once erotic, dangerous and compelling.”
The Bookseller (UK)

“Barbara Gowdy in bondage.”
The Vancouver Sun

“Nancy Lee pulls no punches in her debut story collection. In precise sentences she mirrors the lurid headlines in the nightly news: missing girls, presumed dead, lost children whose stories litter the fringes of our consciousness. . .Lee is a pure and fearless writer.”
Toronto Star

“Dead Girls. . . is completely free of the tentativeness or uncertainty shown by so many first-time authors. A loosely connected collection of short stories, Dead Girls is among the strongest fictional debuts in recent memory and heralds the arrival of a bold new voice in Canadian writing. . . a disturbing, nervy, and ultimately thrilling debut.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“Assured and immensely readable stories.”
The Observer (UK)

“In a clean, impeccable style, Nancy Lee brings to light what too often comes to lie at the core of love. These are moving and gripping stories–harsh, yet delivered with delicacy and compassion. They are from a young, new writer of conspicuous talent. Read them–and you will wake from a slumber you did not know you were in.”
-Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi and Self

“Lee uses words with forensic compassion, her stories shivery, thrilling pieces of emotional noir. An unusually intelligent debut.”
-Metro (UK)

“If Nancy Lee makes the right decisions–and writes a novel as good as her stories–she will be huge. Lee. . .has written a book that has an unforgettable sense of urgency. Remember the name.”
NOW Magazine

“Nancy Lee’s prose is unflinchingly beautiful. Her narratives, seemingly slight, resound in the mind weeks and months after they are read.”
-Tobias Hill, author of The Cryptographer and Underground

“The writing is so subtle and understated and delicate. . .It’s flawless; she’s in complete command, knows exactly what she wants to say and how precisely to say it. Some of the best short stories I’ve read in years.”
-Niall Griffiths, author of Sheepshagger and Kelly and Victor

“Lee’s stories can be disturbing, yet they are redeemed by a humaneness in her writing, a sympathetically imagined depiction of hope and despair.”

“Brilliantly and thrillingly written. . . .While Dead Girls is indeed dark, it is written with compassion and lightning flashes of humour.”
The Herald (UK)


McClelland & Stewart, Canada,July 2003

Faber & Faber, UK, August 2003

Ambo Anthos, The Netherlands

Goldman, Germany

Fazi Editore, Italy

Circe, Spain

Buchet-Chastel, France

Cinestorm Pictures

JB Productions


Shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award

Shortlisted for the 2002 Pearson Canada Reader’s Choice Award

Picked as the Number One Book of the Year by NOW Magazine

A Globe and Mail Book of the Year

A Vancouver Sun Book of the Year

A Toronto Star Book of the Year

Other Books by Nancy Lee