Dead Girls

Publisher: Emblem Editions
Infused with eroticism, poignancy, and insight that cuts to the bone, these stories lead us into a tipping world of emotional wagers, loss and discovery, power and impulse. A marriage is tested as a mother struggles to cope with the disappearance of her prostitute daughter. Two angry women in a minivan act out their frustrations as they rampage through the night. A pill-dependent nurse juggles neuroses, infatuation, and exhaustion while supervising a high school dance-a-thon. A quiet tattoo artist takes in a homeless woman, and stumbles upon the true nature of beauty, jealousy, and love. Written in taut, unflinching prose, these stories are edgy and dark, sharply observed and uniquely imagined. As provocative as it is brilliant, Dead Girls introduces Nancy Lee as an astonishing and original new literary talent.


At the edge of the parking lot, a group of skate kids sat huddled on a low railing, hunched over cigarettes, their feet on their boards. Scrawny junior–high boys with long hair and baggy jackets, drawn like insects to the glow of the gym. I loitered near the doorway, gripped the metal bars of the emergency doors,...
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“Dead Girls is among the bravest fictional debuts in recent memory and heralds the arrival of a bold and audacious new voice in Canadian writing.”
Quill and Quire

“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

“Beautifully penned, intensely moving stories.… A masterwork of revelation and catharsis.…What a gift is Nancy Lee. No review can tell you.”
Globe and Mail

Dead Girls heralds the arrival of a bold and audacious new voice in Canadian writing…A disturbing, threatening, and ultimately thrilling debut.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

Dead Girls has a can’t-put-it-down urgency. It’s about survival and toughness – and when you least expect it, hope.”

“These stories [have] a heart-stopping power.… Meticulously crafted, every element faceted and polished.…Dead Girls reveals Nancy Lee as a writer of uncanny abilities.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Lee has written a book that has an unforgettable sense of urgency. Remember the name.”
NOW (five-star review)

“How tender, beautiful, tragic and soulful these stories are. Nancy Lee creates poignant moments of utter darkness and somehow, miraculously, she fills them with pinpricks of hopeful light. This book may teach you something about yourself and the way you move through the world. I couldn’t put it down.”
–Michelle Berry

“Nancy Lee writes as a young writer should – fearlessly.…Dead Girls is a standout first collection.”
Edmonton Journal

“Her writing flows so eloquently, you don’t fully appreciate its sting until the sentence is over. Dead Girls is a powerful book perfectly in step with its time.…”
Georgia Straight

“Vibrant, startling, and – contradicting the book’s title – electrically alive.”
–Victoria Times Colonist

Dead Girls is a frighteningly accomplished book.”
Montreal Gazette

“Lee is a pure and fearless writer.”
Toronto Star