Thirteen stories that expose the complications of women who dare to deviate from the status quo.
"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 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
In the land of fiction, women are too often cast as inherently good—typically kind, always considerate, and traditionally in possession of high morals. Not so in the recklessly audacious stories in Waiting for the Cyclone. A mother in need of rehabilitation, a wife who wakes up in the arms of a man who isn’t her husband, a young woman who comes face-to-face with a bully from years ago. These women don’t need to be liked, do not comply to set expectations, and are not compelled to make apologies. These women, and a dozen more, are perfectly imperfect.
A collection of short stories that behaves much like the weather pattern it was named for, Waiting for the Cyclone is at times fast and reckless and at others, calm yet under high pressure. A powerful literary debut from one of Canada’s most promising young writers.
"Often in fiction, women are portrayed as "good." They may slip up, but they eventually return to goodness. Not so in this collection of stories. These women land hard. They aren't bad people, but neither are they especially likeable. However, they do come across as real—almost uncomfortably authentic in a real-life-stripped-down kind of way. Whether it is a woman leaving a relationship or another in search of the mother who gave her up or a young girl looking at her female role models, there is a weight to these poignant stories that lingers."
"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."
"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.”
Waiting for the Cyclone is gritty and real . . . captivating. The fact that these beautifully flawed characters are women only adds yet another layer of intrigue.
In Dean’s eclectic debut collection of short fiction, women take center stage. The stories flit across Canada and the Americas, telling tales of summer romances, hitchhiking in Alberta, and love so overpowering that it crushes its object. Bound by nothing but the intention to portray women’s interior landscapes, these stories present imperfection in all its glorious variety . . . Focusing on how circumstance can change the pacing of relationships, these stories zoom in on the ways in which the characters are “no longer in sync.” . . . A promising new author.
"The way Dean set ups up her stories and has the reader fill in the unsaid with their own imagination. She does it magnificently . . . There’s life and beauty in every story. Dean hits her notes perfectly, and brings the coming storm to their world in a beautifully filtered and poetic reality."
"There are few occasions of physical violence in Waiting for the Cyclone, though plenty of emotional damage, the through-line a gale-like force pushing the narrative in a surprise direction—not a twist ending, but a destination unheralded at the beginning…The takeaway: Whatever our strength of will, we are buffeted by circumstances outside our control."
"Vibrant . . . These stories, peopled with unconventional women navigating between freedom and family ties, give an out-of-the-ordinary window into contemporary North American lives.
Dean’s use of imagery is masterful . . . [she] showers the collection with beautiful imagery and resilient and complicated women characters. Dean excels in her writing of youthful narrators’ voices, leaving me wanting more . . .
"Leesa Dean’s debut collection, Waiting For The Cyclone, is tried and true storytelling."
"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."
Waiting for the Cyclone is included on 49th Shelf's Fall Preview.