Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis

Vanishing and Other Stories explores emotional and physical absences, the ways in which people leave, are left, and whether or not it's ever possible to move on. Readers will encounter a skinny ice-cream scooper named Nina Simone, a vanishing visionary of social utopia, a French teacher who collects fiancés, and a fortune-telling mother who fails to predict the heartbreak of her own daughter. The characters in this collection will linger in the imagination, proving that nothing is ever truly forgotten. [via GoodReads]
What a sad, unnerving, yet touching and memorable set of short stories.  I cant' really say that I am fond of short stories - although I must confess, that as of late, they have been growing on me more and more. 

These 14 stories have a common thread - someone or something is missing.  It could be the absence of a loved one or the death of a significant other, even the loss of something - in the end someone vanishes and someone is left behind.  These are the stories of those who stay, how they live their lives without this person or thing that is missing. 

I have to say that Ms. Willis is a very talented writer.  Her words were a joy to read.  She masterfully grabs you at the start of each story and you will find that you can't stop until that story is over.  I found it very unique that we get so much in each story, which you usually don't find in short stories.  By giving you details of a characters past and present, you begin to understand them more fully, you get to know them and eventually acknowledge and appreciate their growth throughout their stories.  This alone was quite astonishing to me, because although the stories were mostly sad, you feel as if there is some closure in each one.  She also captures her characters - whether it be a woman scorned, a friend, a sibling, or even an aging cowboy, young or old - the narrators all seemed true, someone you might know, or even a few of their aspects might be found within you. 

Vanishing was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.  This book is one I'd recommend to lovers of short stories or even better yet, to book clubs, because it is very thought provoking.  My final say is, you may relate to one of these stories or, you might relate to none, but in the end, they will stay with you.

About the author:
Deborah Willis’s work has appeared in the Bridport Prize Anthology, Event, and Grain, and she was a winner of PRISM International‘s annual fiction prize. Short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, Vanishing and Other Stories is her first book of fiction. 

You can also visit her website here.

This book was provided for review by


Emidy @ Une Parole said...

Lovely review! You know, I'm not a big short story reader. The ones that I have read so far were really enjoyable, so I'd love to delve deeper into this genre. This sounds like the perfect book to read next!

Amanda said...

This one sounds really good! Sad, but good.

trish said...

Wow! You make these stories sound lovely, though I can see where the sadness comes in. So glad you liked the book! Thanks for being on the tour. :)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Sounds powerful. Thanks for the great review.

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