Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Vanishing by Deborah Willis

In the fourteen stories in Vanishing, Deborah Willis explores the ways that we lose people and items that are important to us.  Some are vanish through infidelity and some through physical separation, while others vanish through death or even loving outside accepted boundaries.  In each case, there is the person who vanishes, and those left behind, who must determine how to move on in their lives without the person who is gone.

The opening story, "Vanishing"  is my favorite.  In this story, a playwright father and husband leaves his house one day, never to return.  The story follows his wife and daughter throughout their lives after this event, outlining the various ways that his disappearance changes their lives, even decades later.  The deftness Willis demonstrates in this outline of all the repercussions caused by his decision to leave brings the story close to the reader, and makes them spend time thinking of how their life would change without their loved ones close at hand.

In this first book of fiction, Deborah Willis displays the insight into human decisions that has marked her previous work.  She won the PRISM International annual fiction prize.  She was long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and short-listed for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction.  Her work can also be found in The Bridport Prize Anthology, Event, and Grain.  This book is recommended for readers interested in determining how we relate to each other, and what it means when the human connections are broken, either through actions or physical space.


Brenda Pruitt said...

I've got this one to read on the tour too. You wrote an excellent review and it makes me want to get in there and get to reading it too! Sounds intriguing.

Heather J. @ TLC Books said...

I'm not generally a short story fan but this book sounds VERY intriguing - maybe even a good book club pick?

Thanks for being a part of the tour.