The First To Disappear

Patty Somlo


ISBN 978-1-944682-04-0         $15.00        238 pages

Award-Winning Finalist in the "Fiction: Short Story" category of the 2016 International Book Awards

Miriam had never been a religious woman but those silken wings propelling infinitely millions of fragile creatures down the North American continent caused her to believe in a force that could only be described as holy.

The eighteen stories in The First to Disappear offer a new literature that reflects back to us the rapidly changing circumstances of 21st Century life. Moving, yet often funny, Patty Somlo performs magic, slipping seamlessly into the heart of hot-button issues—immigration, terrorism and climate change—while borders between nations and the animal and human realms disappear before our very eyes.

Patty Somlo offers stories that take us deeper into our humanity, that wonderful place of vulnerability and possibility. Stories presenting glimmers of a more hopeful humanity, the individuals and societies we can be when we open to ourselves and others. Somlo invites fresh perspectives on our human realities—and who we can be when we peacefully confront our quandaries.

     Kimberlyn David, editor of Nonviolence magazine and former editor at Paraguas Books


There is magic and heartbreak in Patty Somlo's stories. To read them is to cross one kind of border or another, be it the line drawn between people, in the mind, or on the sands.

     Andrew Lam, author of Birds of Paradise Lost


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 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. -

     Janice Eidus, author of The War of the Rosens and The Last Jewish Virgin


Somlo deftly packs every line with external story as well as internal contemplation of the main character; I could not help but get caught up in the story’s final sweep of emotion.

     Denise Hill in review on


Patty Somlo spent ten years as a reporter before deciding to concentrate on short fiction and creative nonfiction. Her focus as a journalist on immigration and Central America continues to inform her fiction. The granddaughter of immigrants, Somlo grew up in a military family that moved constantly. Her nomadic childhood has also fueled her passion for writing about immigrants, refugees and the homeless. Her short stories and essays have appeared in many journals, including the Los Angeles Review, the Santa Clara Review, Under the Sun, Guernica, Gravel, Sheepshead Review, and WomenArts Quarterly, and in numerous anthologies. She has received four Pushcart Prize nominations, been nominated for storySouth’s Million Writers Award and had an essay selected as a Notable Essay of 2013 for Best American Essays 2014. Author of From Here to There and Other Stories (Paraguas Books), Somlo has two forthcoming books:  a memoir-in-essays, Even When Trapped Behind Clouds (WiDo Publishing), and Hairway to Heaven Stories (Cherry Castle Publishing).