A plane suddenly disappears from the radar and no one knows where it has gone. The initial assumption is that terrorists must be responsible. From that point, this short story collection travels elsewhere: having coffee with a group of Iraqi immigrants working as drivers, a hospital emergency room where the sick and injured wait for help that never seems to come, the unique candidacy of a governor whose most compelling platform is his plan for Right Living, a group of old men who gather on a polluted beach every morning to remember what life was like when the water and sand were pristine. And, we meet a lonely woman who inexplicably finds long white thread spilling from her lips. Later, we learn about a clump of dust that drifts across the U.S.-Mexico border. We then meet: a small farmer from a tiny Mexican village who has, to a patrol agent’s extreme dismay, managed to skirt the border fence; half-human/half-avian creatures that live at the top of a dormant volcano and are known as Bird Women; Blanca Peña, who might do anything to get a new pair of jeans; and a Muslim and Christian who find themselves bonding over the loss of an island.
“In beautiful, subtle prose, Patty Somlo captures the existential heartaches and joys intrinsic to contemporary life. Boldly weaving together the real and the fantastic, she writes of characters who find redemption in unexpected ways and places as they struggle with complex, ever-changing issues of immigration, revolution, race, class, love, family ties, technology, and war. Tackling these large subjects — in non-sensationalistic, non-didactic fashion — Somlo tells original, authentic stories that are always compelling and fully engaging.” — Janice Eidus, author of The War of the Rosens and The Last Jewish Virgin.
“Patty Somlo’s short fiction, written in a clean and understated style, navigates the shadows of the lives of the dispossessed. What makes Somlo’s fiction so literary worthy is her ability to surprise the reader, revealing truths that we perhaps hope to deny.” — Rosa Martha Villarreal, recipient of the 2008 PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award for The Stillness of Love and Exile.
“In Patty Somlo’s stories, the journey from “Here to There” is not without its dangers and uncertainties. Ultimately, once on this journey of the imagination, of the body and soul, of life itself, there is no turning back, there is only the courage, endurance and persistence to continue that journey wherever it may take you. — Mitch Levenberg, author of Principles of Uncertainty and Other Constants.
- Hardcover: 214 pages
- Publisher: Paraguas Books LLP (October 22, 2010). Available from Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.