First Fiction Fridays: Waiting for the Cyclone

October 14, 2016

Leesa Dean's debut short story collection,  Waiting for the Cyclone (Brindle & Glass), is indeed the swirling shakeup we've all been waiting for: a bold collection of stories headed up by fierce, unapologetically real women that Ayelet Tsabari would "like to hang out with." So would we!

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Waiting for the Cyclone: Stories (Brindle & Glass, 2016)


Leesa Dean is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program and teaches English and Creative Writing for Selkirk College in Nelson, BC. She’s been a finalist for the Irving Layton Award, the Litpop Award, and the Quebec Writing Competition. She is Interviews Editor for The Humber Literary Review and a regular contributor to The New Quarterly. When she's not writing or teaching, she is almost certainly on a wild adventure somewhere, doing things like riding her bike across Canada or befriending circus bear trainers in the Deep South. Waiting for the Cyclone is her first book

Why you need to read this now:

“There are lots of amazing badass women in literature,” says author Leesa Dean, “but we need more.”

Enter Dean’s debut collection, Waiting for the Cyclone, released October 4. Inspired by strong, assertive women who own up to their differences and deviate from the status quo, Dean’s collection features characters that challenge traditional archetypes of women. Instead of the perfect mothers, doting wives, and angelic daughters we’re used to seeing in literature, Dean’s women are refreshingly complicated, boldly unapologetic, and vividly authentic.

In just a few short brush strokes, Dean can make us love a character that is as broken, real, and unforgettable as any in a full-length novel. You’ll meet, Debbie, a seemingly perfect housewife who shoots pharmaceuticals at night; Alison, who drinks too much and wakes in the tattooed arms of a man who isn’t her husband; Leslie, who dons a flak jacket and dares a former colleague to stab her with a kitchen knife; and Louise, a single mother who fakes a medical condition to keep her son close to home.

Each story is a hit to the solar plexus, as Elisabeth McCracken said they should be, and each woman is as different as she is compelling. Written with a fresh, contemporary voice, this collection presents women as they are, and makes no apologies.

What others are saying:

"Leesa Dean writes strong, complex, unforgettable female characters I’d like to hang out with. Waiting for the Cyclone is a radiant debut—beautifully written, passionate, and whip smart—from a refreshing new voice bound to make her mark in Canadian literature." —Ayelet Tsabari, author of The Best Place on Earth, winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature 

“In Waiting for the Cyclone, Leesa Dean gives us an original, honest voice. Far from shelter, readers will find themselves pulled closer and closer to the eye of this storm. Brace yourself: these women are unflinchingly real. You will not be able to look away.” —Elisabeth de Mariaffi, author of  How to Get Along with Women, nominated for the Giller Prize 

“Subversive, illicit, and with a knack for final lines packed with innuendo, Waiting for the Cyclone is a pleasure readers need not feel guilty about.” —Quill & Quire

X + Y:

Waiting for the Cyclone combines the intelligence and sensitivity of Mona Awad's 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, with the nuance and insight of Amy Jones' We're All in This Together. 


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Thanks so much to Tori at Brindle & Glass for getting us into the Cyclone-zone. For even more debut fiction recommendations, head  here.


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