How We Disappear
Novella & Stories
by Tara Lynn Masih
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 13 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2022
In How We Disappear, Masih offers readers transporting and compelling stories of those taken, those missing, and those neither here nor gone—runaways, exiles, wanderers, ghosts, even the elusive Dame Agatha Christie. From the remote Siberian taiga to the harsh American frontier, from rural Long Island to postwar Belgium, Masih’s characters are diverse in identity and circumstance, defying the burden of erasure by disappearing into or emerging from physical and emotional landscapes.
Described as “masterful” and as “striking and resonant” (Publishers Weekly), Masih’s fiction, crossing boundaries between historical and contemporary, sparks with awareness that nothing and no one is ever gone for good—and that the wilderness is never quite behind us.
Praise for How We Disappear:
A virtuoso collection of stories that spin around an axis of loss and rediscovery, where things thought gone forever magically reappear in new guises. . . . These are middle-of-the night stories, secret messages carried on desert winds, spider-web invitations that make you want to stay and dream some more.
—Tina May Hall, author of The Snow Collectors and winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize
How We Disappear traffics, beautifully, in the liminal spaces between past and present, imagination and memory. These stories are concise, unsparing, lyrical, always daring.
—Michael Parker, O. Henry Award–winning author of Prairie Fever
With sweeping intelligence and effortless command, Masih deftly explores the aching presence of the absent, and the absence of those present, in stories that read like instant classics—timely, and yet, of another time. . . . These are sensual, transporting stories that traverse the globe . . . as they burrow deep and stay within long after we finish reading.
—Sara Lippmann, author of Jerks and Doll Palace, Longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
Average rating from 29 members
Tara Lynn Masih has proven that she can write just about anything. She blew me away with My Real Name Is Hanna and I have been a fan ever since. Her writing is wonderfully beautiful, and I easily find myself transported to the locations in her books/novellas/stories.
How We Disappear is a collection of stories about those who are lost, those who are taken, those who have run away, those that are in-between, and those who wander. She even has Agatha Christie in the mix!
I enjoy books that evoke emotion and are thought provoking. This completely fit the bill. Were there ones that I enjoyed more than others? Yes, but isn't that the way with story collection? Plus, I enjoyed them all just some more than others. Tara Lynn Masih is a master storyteller and gifted writer. Her skills are on full display in this collection.
Lyrical, thought provoking and evoking emotion, this collection is not to be missed.
Thank you to Press 53 and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Tara Lynn Masih is a masterful storyteller. I fell in love with her writing in her book, My Real Name is Hannah. This collection of short stories and a novella is to be savoured and read slowly. Masih creates memorable characters that won't soon be forgotten.
I was blown away by this exceptional collection of stories from Tara Lynn Masih. Her overarching theme of “how we disappear” turns out to be so wonderfully complex, and each piece explores this idea in its own unique way. Masih includes a quote from Lava (Pamela C. Ball) at the very beginning of the book that provides context to her work:
“Whenever I asked about my father, my mom told me… he’d just disappeared. Into thin air, she’d add, snapping her long fingers. Thin air. A country all its own.”
It is evident throughout this collection that Masih has a deep, passionate fascination with what it means to be in “thin air.” I felt her drive to explore it coming right off every page; and as a reader, I’m now deeply fascinated by it too! She’s pulled me right in through her impressive worldbuilding, beautiful (truly lyrical) writing, and the profound ideas that underlie each narrative. She effectively weaves in constructs like race and gender, highlighting how they intersect with the larger theme. She uses a variety of narrative styles and structures, which tended to add another layer of insight to their respective stories. She illustrates disappearance through both natural and supernatural elements, giving very real concepts – like death and memory – an almost magical quality. And she is so masterful with her words that I found myself resonating with sentence after sentence, passage after passage; to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite this liberal with my highlighter.
This was a joy to read on so many levels. As an aspiring writer, it was truly inspiring – almost like a master class showcasing a poetic yet concise style of writing that I’ve always wanted. As a first time NetGalley reviewer, I was marvelously thrown off; I was all ready to put my critic’s hat on, being the self-described picky reader that I am, and never pictured myself singing an author’s praises like this. Sure, there are some stories I enjoyed more than others; particular standouts including “What You Can’t See in the Picture,” “Delight,” “Agatha: A Life in Unauthorized Fragments,” and the final novella “An Aura Surrounds That Night.”
And as a regular human being/reader, I found the collection incredibly moving. With every “disappearance” is someone, or something, that is left behind to reckon with its absence; and following her characters as they navigate different types of loss was a cathartic experience of my own. Masih’s stories featured a variety of cultures, backgrounds, geographic locations, time frames, and contexts; but underlying each one was this universal theme that everyone has to face at some point in their lives. I felt that connection as I was reading.
I actually started to break down the individual stories, but it was making this review incredibly long (and time consuming). If anyone would be interested in reading it, I’d love to write a second review closer to the release date and dig deeper into each one!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of the book!