What if every trial on the path to adulthood carried with it a scar—a tiny tear in the fabric of the self?

Christopher Salvatore is a boy trying to forge an identity even as his self is breaking apart. Staten Island, New York City during the 1980s and early 90s serves as the backdrop for a coming-of-age tale that blends nostalgia, psychological complexity, and magical realism as different parts of him emerge and contest each other.

Read the first story here.

 

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Synopsis

Here are descriptions of the major stories from Vanishing Places:

He Was The Shop. From a young age, Christopher Salvatore is fascinated with solving problems. Armed with the skills he learned from a master technician, he makes it his quest to save his father’s TV repair shop from oblivion. But his ingenuity is no match for the forces of time and fate opposing him. Read here.

Roadside Assistance. A minor car accident teaches Christopher a harsh lesson about who his father is. Read here.

Three Kisses. Concerned about Christopher’s fascination with his father’s violent tendencies, his mother teaches him three lessons he will never forget.

Hide and Seek. Christopher stumbles upon his older brother Charlie’s secret hideout and discovers that his brother’s hatred for him goes far deeper than he has ever imagined. The resulting confrontation changes their relationship forever. Read here.

The Snowball Fight. Mistreatment and bullying brings Christopher (age six) to a rage. Unfortunately he is no match for his older brother and his friends, that is, until a newcomer comes to his aid, changing the balance of power in his family. Read here.

How I Learned to Be A Trickster. In his older brother Anthony, Christopher has found a worthy master to teach him the art of practical jokes. But the path of the trickster is about far more than simple pranks.

The Nun. A schoolyard fight leads to a contest of wills with a sadistic nun. Christopher must choose between his desire for achievement and his need to resist being controlled.

The Bus Pass. In the last weeks before starting a dreaded private high school, a surprise visit from his brother’s mother shatters the fragile structure of Christopher’s family. Lost in despair, he spends the end of the summer riding buses and wandering the Island as he contemplates taking his education into his own hands.

The Game Master. Now in high school, Christopher forms a friendship with Yuan, a Chinese-American classmate with a very different family life, but their fast-growing friendship is challenged when Yuan is courted by a street gang.

The Kiss. Christopher has an unexpected encounter with his brother’s girlfriend that leaves him hopelessly attracted to her. In an effort to convert this into a friendship, he enlists her aid in creating a grand gesture to express his love for his high school crush.

The Band. At the end of high school, Christopher has one last perfect night of music, friendship, drinking, and moshing before an unexpected experience forces him to confront the darkness that has been lurking in his mind.

The Limbo Club. In the aftermath of a destructive episode, Christopher relies on his friends for support, until, that is, he sees a beautiful girl and promptly forgets all about them.

The Lunch Date. Christopher is amazed by how easy it is to get Rally to go on a lunch date with him. Now, if only her best friend Fable would get out of the way.

The Wolf Whisperer. In an effort to make peace with his family, Christopher goes to visit his father in the hospital, gaining a new understanding of their relationship and its limits.

Pomp and Circumstance. Graduation from high school brings with it celebration and long sought reunions, but Christopher is finding it difficult to keep the different parts of his life separate.

The Shark’s Tooth. Christopher is trying to make sense of his very confusing relationship with Rally and Fable. When Rally buys a gift for Christopher he tries to understand its hidden meaning.

A Fable. As the summer before college comes to a close, Christopher is weighed down by the ambiguity of his relationship with Rally and Fable. He must choose between them, but each relates to a different side of his personality.

The Rally. Christopher is compelled to make a fateful choice between two very different paths. But the decision shatters the fragile truce between the different pieces of his self. The resulting battle between desire and morality threatens to destroy any semblance of wholeness.

Epilog: The Coda. In the aftermath of Christopher’s identity crisis, eight sub-personalities have emerged, with each setting their sights on a different path. Many conflicts are left to be resolved before Christopher’s destiny can be decided.

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