Katherine Forbes Riley’s debut novel The Bobcat is a beautiful read that showcases nature and the connection that can be found even when you are trying to stay isolated. Laurelie is a young art student who is struggling to get through her the day after one terrible evening. As she tries to find ways to keep herself safe in her own little world, the outside world slowly begins to open back up to her. One young man and a bobcat bring her back into an element of her former self, but when a young boy she babysits disappears she worries that she won’t be able to keep her fragile new world together.
Laurelie had always loved art and after one night of sketching at a frat party leads her to become the victim of assault, she struggles to bring her life back to normal. Her trauma pushes her to stay isolated and seek out only spaces where no one will pay attention to her. One connection she does maintain is with a young boy she babysits and with him she often ventures into the woods. During one of their trips she sees a wounded bobcat and becomes acquainted with a hiker who has been following the pregnant and hurt animal for miles. The more time they spend together the more they begin to connect and Laurelie opens herself back up to the possibility of a close connection with someone. As she learns more about him and his life she continues to become more connected to him, but when the boy she babysits disappears she worries that something terrible may have happened. She and the hiker delve back into the woods to find him and this moment might be what pushes her back into a world of isolation.
Riley’s story is told in a way that examines each and every movement around her main character. Tying together animal like similarities between people and what Laurelie sees in the woods creates a sort of mysterious natural beauty to everything. As an artist the main character is a perfect vessel for these views and as she tries to connect withe the hiker she compares him to the mysterious bobcat that she saw in the woods. She also marks some of her own behavior in ways that tie her back into the wooded area she often visits. The story is rich in descriptions and shows tremendous perseverance on the part of the main character. This is a story growth and the ability to make it through a trauma into a new way of being. Order your copy of The Bobcat today!