The Bobcat

A Novel

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About The Book

Haunting and lyrical, The Bobcat is Katherine Forbes Riley’s magical debut novel in which Laurelie, a young art student who suffers in the aftermath of a sexual assault, has grown progressively more isolated and fearful. She transfers from her busy city university to a small college in rural Vermont, where she retreats into her vivid imagination, experiencing the world through her art. Most comfortable in the company of the child for whom she babysits, and most at ease in the woods, Laurelie has shunned any connection with her peers. One day, while exploring the woods, she and her young charge encounter an injured pregnant bobcat – and the hiker who has been following it for hundreds of miles. In the hiker and his feline companion Laurelie recognizes someone as reclusive and wary as herself. The hiker, too, finds human companionship painful to endure, yet he is drawn to wounded Laurelie the way he is drawn to the bobcat. As Laurelie moves toward recovery and reconnection she also finds her voice as an artist, and a sense of purpose, maybe even a future, comes into sight. Then the child goes missing in the woods, threatening the bobcat, the hiker, and the fragile peace Laurelie has constructed. With the hypnotic intensity of Emily Fridlund’s The History of Wolves and Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest, Riley has created a mesmerizing love story, in lush, gorgeous prose, that examines art, science, and the magic of human chemistry.

About The Author

Katherine Forbes Riley is a writer and computational linguist in Vermont. Katherine's writing appears in the Wigleaf 2018 top 50 list, as well as HCE Review, Ginosko, Gone Lawn, Blue Monday Review, decomP, Fiction Southeast, Noö, Spartan, Jellyfish Review, Conium, James Franco Review, Mulberry Fork, Paper Nautilus, Halfway Down The Stairs, Crack the Spine, Storyscape, Whiskey Island, Lunch Ticket, Eunoia, Literary Orphans, Eclectica, BlazeVOX, McNeese Review, Akashic Books, and Buffalo Almanack, from whom she received the Inkslinger’s Award for Creative Excellence. She finished her magical debut, The Bobcat , during the 2016-17 academic year, while a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. She lives near Dartmouth College, in Norwich, VT.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Arcade (June 2019)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781948924115

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Raves and Reviews

"In The Bobcat, Katherine Forbes Riley has created an honest, unflinching account of the aftermath of a sexual assault. There is profound empathy in the novel’s depiction of the wounded young artist Laurelie, and Riley’s great accomplishment is to show the tortured process by which this courageous woman stumblingly, imperfectly, navigates a hostile world while simultaneously recreating herself. A strange beauty pervades the novel, even in Laurelie's descriptions of her own terror—the sort of beauty born of careful design. This narrative is dead set on bringing the reader face to face with truth. By turns raw, hallucinogenic, redemptive, and always deeply intelligent, it’s a novel of the moment and one that deserves a wide audience."--Jack Livings, author of The Dogs: Stories

"The Bobcat is an intensely lyrical, deeply involving novel about what it means to be a human animal. Blending gorgeous nature imagery, philosophical curiosity, and a story as insistent as a heartbeat, this book will grab you by the scruff of the neck and won't let go."--Jennie Yabroff, author of If You Were Here

"In The Bobcat, Katherine Forbes Riley has created an honest, unflinching account of the aftermath of a sexual assault. There is profound empathy in the novel’s depiction of the wounded young artist Laurelie, and Riley’s great accomplishment is to show the tortured process by which this courageous woman stumblingly, imperfectly, navigates a hostile world while simultaneously recreating herself. A strange beauty pervades the novel, even in Laurelie's descriptions of her own terror—the sort of beauty born of careful design. This narrative is dead set on bringing the reader face to face with truth. By turns raw, hallucinogenic, redemptive, and always deeply intelligent, it’s a novel of the moment and one that deserves a wide audience."--Jack Livings, author of The Dogs: Stories

"The Bobcat is an intensely lyrical, deeply involving novel about what it means to be a human animal. Blending gorgeous nature imagery, philosophical curiosity, and a story as insistent as a heartbeat, this book will grab you by the scruff of the neck and won't let go."--Jennie Yabroff, author of If You Were Here

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