Lancelotta’s sentences read like poetry … These stories masterfully evoke life’s inevitable slippage, the way a personal history is composed of moments that either burn brightly in one’s memory or disappear entirely.
Ways to Disappear
Winner of FC2’s Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize
The stories in Victoria Lancelotta’s Ways to Disappear excavate the unexamined places between dread and desire, promise and threat, where the body is both prison and salvation. Populated by the grieving and the exultant and those who see no difference between the two, by men and women who are only a little bit broken and boys and girls who can’t wait to be, by souls untethered, rootless, yet bound by blood and flesh, Lancelotta’s characters are driven by the irresistible need to be a bigger part of the worlds they each inhabit, by turns strange and commonplace. In language lush and jagged, never sentimental, these stories scrutinize the exhaustion and enchantment of the everyday: houses seething with resentment and devotion, cars dream-full and hurtling the children in them into a world they think they know but can’t imagine; front porches, back yards, luxury hotels, and truck stops. Lancelotta understands that sometimes people check their wounds not to see if they’ve healed, but to be sure they’re still there.
Lancelotta’s sentences read like poetry … These stories masterfully evoke life’s inevitable slippage, the way a personal history is composed of moments that either burn brightly in one’s memory or disappear entirely. Standout pieces include “The Anniversary Trip” and “Ambivalence,” but every story here deserves to be read slowly and carefully, with time allotted to recover in between. A dazzling collection of stories covering rough emotional terrain.
Lancelotta has her finger on the pulse of how life consumes us, from moments large to small. A compulsively readable and emotionally affecting book.
The stories in Ways to Disappear beautifully articulate the anxieties and aspirations of contemporary life. Victoria Lancelotta’s prose is lyrical, intuitive, and expansive. She opens up the small space of a story and breathes life into unexplored corners. She captures the prickling, quick fire actions that kindle in adolescence, but her antenna is good, too, when it comes to reporting on the more cautious, more subterranean passions and difficulties of adult life. “You are Here” is an astonishing story and the rest of the collection doesn’t disappoint.
Let’s say they’re organizing a race. Let’s say word reaches me Lancelotta’s among the runners. What I do is lay my bet on Lancelotta. Heaven help us, there is a race. When is there not a race? This is how the world is organized — run, run, run. Is there any having a world wrought otherwise? So be it. My money’s well wagered. Lancelotta, Lancelotta, Lancelotta!
Victoria Lancelotta’s new book, Ways to Disappear, is a tour de force of short fiction, it’s as tough and broad and wide ranging as a killer novel, as rich line-for-line as the finest poem, and it is mean. It spares not the author, the characters, the relationships, the siblings, the husbands and wives. There is a richness here that is rarely found in contemporary fiction. From the opening piece to the closing the work is touching and masterful, gritty, sharp-edged, unsparing. It’s not a tea party. What it is is consistently heartbreaking and true, a world alive, characters that see, feel, experience the full measure of unfiltered emotions, heartbreak, longing, caring, hoping, wishing, waiting. Ways to Disappear is a sublime collection, astonishing, thrilling, hard as nails, bright as ice.