A Trillium Book Award Finalist
Women are too often cast in literature as inherently good and dependable—but this is not the case in the audacious stories of Waiting for the Cyclone.
Mary, a closet drinker, leaves her children with Debbie, a seemingly perfect housewife who shoots pharmaceuticals at night. Alison vacations with her husband, but wakes up in the tattooed arms of another man. Donna lies to her family about volunteering in Afghanistan so she can parasail with a lover in Turkey.
With authenticity and intensity, Dean challenges traditional literary archetypes by revealing female characters that are nuanced, contradictory, and boldly unapologetic.
"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 Away with Women, nominated for the Giller Prize
"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."
Waiting for the Cyclone is included on 49th Shelf's Fall Preview.
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."
"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."
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.
"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."
"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.
"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.”
"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."
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."