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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)


And Other Stories

by (author) Deborah Willis

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Jan 2012
Short Stories (single author), Psychological, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2009
    List Price

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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.

About the author

Contributor Notes

DEBORAH WILLIS's last short story collection, The Dark and Other Love Stories, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was named one of The Globe and Mail's Best Books of 2009, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for fiction. Her work has also appeared in The Walrus, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Lucky Peach, The Wall Street Journal, and Zoetrope. She has worked as a bookseller at Munro's Books in Victoria, BC, as a technical writer, and as a writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver and at the University of Calgary. Deborah was born and raised in Calgary and is currently the Writer in Residence at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Editorial Reviews

“The emotional range and depth of these stories, the clarity and deftness, is astonishing.”
—Alice Munro

“The stories in Vanishing show the magic of fiction at its best: fully realized worlds inseparable from the uncanny fact that they exist as mere words, magnificently strung together.”
The Globe and Mail

“The fourteen arresting stories in [Willis’s] debut collection are about to hurtle her into the literary spotlight. . . . She elicits immediate curiosity about her characters. Right away we want to know: Who are these people? What are their stories? Yet her methods remain mysterious. If possible, Willis’s prose is even less showy than Munro’s: It is not merely down to earth, but of the earth. Her words feel essential and elemental. She is one of those writers who make fiction feel less of a genre than a language unto itself.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“If I were a betting man, I’d put a sack of cash on Deborah Willis becoming a nationally renowned writer . . . a remarkably accomplished collection.”
Times Colonist

“Even-tempered, sober and intimate, Willis’s debut collection has a gravity that suggests both the conventionality and maturity of an author well into her career. But if echoes of Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro (and, in the hard-luck stories, Raymond Carver) reveal her as an astute apprentice, Willis also illustrates her talent for crafting stories that confidently reflect her distinctive techniques and voice … Her succession of insights about the small moments people share and the consequences of individual choices keep us turning pages, enthralled.”
Vancouver Sun

“Spare, haunting, and insightful, these stories are wonderfully wrought snapshots about human frailty and loss that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.”
Calgary Herald

“Willis’ work is matter-of-fact on the surface, but beneath this veneer, it is absolutely propelled through to its captivating conclusion. The reader knows what will be discovered . . . yet cannot stop reading or look away . . . I wouldn’t be surprised to see [the book] shortlisted for an award or two next year.”
Eye Weekly

“Though the stories share themes and narrative tone, each stands firmly on its own, with Willis in full control as the characters face down their losses.”
Publishers Weekly

“A remarkable new writer, Willis delivers 14 lovely tales and countless vivid moments in her first fiction collection. . . . It is stunning to see how Willis’ characters shape themselves around what is missing in their lives, and to see how Willis takes such care with all of the people who inhabit her stories. Readers will feel the joy of discovery in reading an emerging writer whose work will crowd our bookshelves for years to come.”
Vanishing and Other Stories is a book of rare insight into the complications of the human heart. Light of touch but deep in content, Deborah Willis’s stories startle, exhilarate and radiate with piercing insights. Original and deftly structured, all 14 continue to resonate long after the book is finished.”
—Canada Council for the Arts

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