Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

This Is How You Start to Disappear

by (author) Astrid Blodgett

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
Short Stories (single author), Literary, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


These twelve new short stories from Astrid Blodgett explore the consequences of grief and denial and single moments that change perceptions, lives, and attachments forever. Crisp prose and unexpected plot twists move relatable characters through vivid outdoor settings and interior depths. A child negotiates adult behaviour when an injured dog is put down. An older sister bribes a younger one to go on her first date. A family canoe trip launches from Disaster Point. A woman wants to hurl her granddaughter’s birthday cake out the window. This Is How You Start to Disappear shows all the heartbreaking ways we evolve when coping with change or trauma.

About the author

Astrid Blodgett is the author of This Is How You Start to Disappear (UAlberta Press) and You Haven’t Changed a Bit (UAlberta Press). Her short stories have appeared in The Journey Prize Anthology, Meltwater: Fiction and Poetry from the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Danish textbook Connect, in many Canadian literary magazines, and in translation in Inostrannaya Literatura. Her work has been short-listed for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story and long-listed for a ReLit Award, a runner up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and a finalist for the High Plains Book Award for Short Stories. She is also the co-author of Recipes for Roaming: Adventure Food for the Canadian Rockies. She lives in Edmonton / amiskwaciwâskahikan.

Astrid Blodgett's profile page

Excerpt: This Is How You Start to Disappear (by (author) Astrid Blodgett)

“After a while, they’ll stop talking about her, the way they don’t talk about Bri. This is how you start to disappear, she thought.”

Editorial Reviews

"In these precisely paced and deceptively dark stories, Astrid Blodgett sweeps out the dust bunnies of contempt and devastation from the junk drawers of her characters’ family homes. These stories do what short stories do best: every word flexes its muscles, every detail teeters on an iceberg of deeper meaning. This Is How You Start To Disappear is a complex and satisfying compilation of unsteady bridge crossings between our childhood and adult selves." Susan Sanford Blades, author of Fake It So Real

"The title of Astrid Blodgett's latest collection, This Is How You Start to Disappear, is a phrase from one of the stories, and disappearance, literally and metaphorically, is a recurring theme throughout the book.... This is a collection of skillfully woven, layered narratives that, even after several readings, continue to deliver discoveries and insights into the precarious but persistent human condition." Barb Howard, Alberta Views Magazine, March 2024

#4 on Alberta Fiction Bestsellers list, December 2023 []

#5 on Edmonton Bestsellers list, September 3, 2023

#8 on Edmonton Bestsellers list, September 10, 2023

#1 on Edmonton Bestsellers list, September 17, 2023

“With compassion and acute observation, Astrid Blodgett writes about events, large and seemingly small, that can change the trajectory of a life. Familial fractures spread like cracks in winter ice as Blodgett investigates those moments that divide her characters’ lives into “before” and “after,” whether they are loyalty tests one sister demands of another or a father so preoccupied with his new relationship that he can’t see his young daughter’s struggles at a skating party. At times, Blodgett’s characters recognize a life-changing event only after it has swept past them, but the reverberations will be felt for decades to come. These finely wrought, multigenerational stories pivot around such moments, as ordinary working people cope with the unexpected tragedy and dislocating circumstances of their unfolding lives.” Rachel Rose, Giller-longlisted author of The Octopus Has Three Hearts

#9 on Edmonton Bestsellers list, October 22, 2023

“Astrid Blodgett explores intimate relationships, with a focus on family drama and trauma, in 12 absorbing new short stories. As adults, a brother and sister recall the summer that spelled the end of their parents’ marriage. Teen girls at summer camp play a dangerous game that ends in tragedy. And a woman who has already suffered a full share of heartbreak and disappointment in life hits a breaking point when she makes a birthday cake for her granddaughter and the kid’s mother scrapes off the homemade icing and piped-on flowers.” Pat St. Germain, Edmonton Journal, August 12, 2023

#7 on Alberta Fiction Bestsellers list, October 10, 2023

“Readers will enjoy Astrid Blodgett’s new collection of short stories. Her characters, plots, and incidents have originality and she engages with contemporary social problems, giving psychological depth to the stories.” Michael Trussler, University of Regina

#4 on Alberta Fiction Bestsellers list, November 2023

"In these stories Astrid Blodgett resists flamboyance. But her stories are not quiet. They simmer with a grammar of discontent." W.H. New, The British Columbia Review, September 24, 2023 [Full review at]

“This Is How You Start to Disappear is for readers who revel in stories told with both skill and passion, stories with twists, stories without ready resolutions.” Rona Altrows, author of At This Juncture

"The title of Astrid Blodgett’s latest collection of short stories succinctly describes what could happen to any of us throughout life: we may disappear at the surface, within ourselves, or within relationships.... It’s not often I come across a book of short stories written by the same author where every single story resonates or is worthy of deeper thought or discussion like this one. I’d recommend This Is How You Start to Disappear for a book club or English 101 studies as a model for form, structure and riveting storytelling." Mala Rai, Miramichi Reader, December 31, 2023 [Starred review at]

#3 on Edmonton Bestsellers list, November 12, 2023

“This collection is an intimate embrace of the moments and memories that define us. With pitch perfect prose and heaps of tension, Blodgett pierces so deep into her characters’ hearts and minds you feel as if you breathe their same air. Beautifully imagined and bursting with compassion, every story is a stunner!” Fran Kimmel, author of The Shore Girl and No Good Asking

Related lists