Vanishing and Other Stories

Evocative and passionately written, 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, freckled ice-cream scooper named after 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. In the title story, a writer vanishes, leaving unfinished work and unanswerable questions. In another story, a girl who can't forget a long-ago trauma faces the fact that her mother is losing her memory. After his wife leaves, an aging cowboy is seduced by a city girl. A doctor, mourning a loss, takes up blackjack. In these stories, secrets are both kept and unearthed, and lives are shaped by missing lovers, parents and children. Written with a remarkable economy of words, dark humour, and wisdom and dexterity far beyond her years, Deborah Willis captures an incredible array of characters that will linger in the imagination "like the smell of lavender and molasses," proving that nothing is ever truly forgotten. 

Buy Vanishing and Other Stories In Canada

Penguin Random House

Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC

Shelf Life Books in Calgary, AB

Chapters Indigo

Buy Vanishing and Other Stories In The U.S.

Harper Perennial

Powells Books


Barnes and Noble

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.
— The Canada Council for the Arts, Governor General’s Award for Fiction jury
...Willis’s 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.
— Montreal Gazette
...[Willis’] insights about the small moments people share and the consequences of individual choices keep us turning pages, enthralled.
— National Post
It’s the best-ever connect with an author: to encounter a fully realized world inseparable from the uncanny fact of it existing as mere words, magnificently strung together.
— Globe and Mail
Willis is absolutely a voice to listen to. Her writing is simple, effortless; the aphoristic insights given to characters are gems…. Willis’ implicit trust in the complicated beauty of unresolved emotional connections underpins all of the stories with a clear-eyed benevolence.
— Canadian Literature
Willis manages her revelations so deftly that they give her stories inevitability, rather than predictability…
— Time Out New York