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Disappearing Earth (2019)

von Julia Phillips

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
7474022,108 (3.95)78
One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year National Book Award Finalist Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize Finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize A Best Book of 2019: Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, NPR, Kirkus, AV Club, Vanity Fair, Variety, Esquire, Jezebel, Real Simple, The New York Post, Town & Country, Barnes & Noble, Library Journal, CBC, BookPage, BookBub, Book Riot, USA Today National Best Seller "Splendidly imagined . . . Thrilling" --Simon Winchester"A genuine masterpiece" --Gary Shteyngart Spellbinding, moving--evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world--this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer. One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls--sisters, eight and eleven--go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women. Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty--densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska--and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused. In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer's virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.… (mehr)
Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonCora-R, teymaneeya, Mark_A_Dunham, private Bibliothek, WiebkeK, obsessedbybooks, Linda_Louise, lsh63, leslico
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It is hard to believe that this is a first novel for Ms. Phillipps. It is extremely well-written, and she takes using differing points of view to tell a story to a new level. At first I found the differing points of view confusing, and hard to follow, but thank goodness she has a list of character families at the beginning of the book, so I referred back to that when I needed to. Partway through it became much easier to keep them straight. The setting is a remote peninsula in far eastern Russia called Kamchatka. This peninsula is located in the Pacific Ocean and is close to Alaska. The peninsula is the home to about 300,000 people which includes ethnic Russians as well as Koryaks, who are an indigenous group of people. The time is present-day and a horrific event occurs in August. Two young girls have disappeared from a busy street in the city of Petropavlstok. These little girls are Koryak girls. The story progresses through all the months of the year following this event, and each month presents a different point of view from people that are linked in some way to this event. Bits of the story behind the kidnapping come out as the book progresses, but all is not made clear until July of the following year. These women and families presented are strong women who have each made it through traumatic events and trials of their own. This is a mystery that binds them all together in some way. It's also a mystery where we see racial disconnects throughout. How hard are the police looking for these two little indigenous girls? Do they even think that they were taken, even after an eye-witness report gives a description of a man in a big, dark vehicle with two little girls inside? Do they blame the mother for lack of supervision of her two daughters? Racism is portrayed in such a subtle way that it's almost like an afterthought, but is glaring all the same. This is a very carefully crafted book and there are no superfluous words used throughout the entire book. A very powerful story about a little-known area with a very well-known world problem. Highly recommend. ( )
  Romonko | Jan 11, 2021 |
Wow. Absolutely incredible. I want to read it again, but more slowly, so I can taste each sentence. It's much more than a story about two girls' disappearance. It's the story of how grief reverberates throughout the tangled weave we call community. And in this community are racial, social, and class undertones that rarely surface when Americans discuss Russia. AND THE SUSPENSE. Please, Julia Phillips, write one hundred more books! ( )
  sjanke | Dec 9, 2020 |
The Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia could be considered the main character of this novel. The story starts with the abduction of two young girls from a beach in the biggest city on the peninsula in the first chapter. Each ensuing chapter moves forward month by month and presents a vignette about various characters both in the city and in remote villages inhabited by indigenous families. Although it isn't always apparent how the characters tie together, the themes of loss, loyalty, family ties, prejudice, and the tension between the old and the new are common threads. In the background, the missing children weigh on the community's --and reader's-- consciousness, although there seems to remain little hope of any resolution to the unsolved crime. This is a haunting novel that finally affirms the power of resilience and relationships. The description of the culture and landscape of this remote locale were interesting and evocative. The character guide and map at the beginning of the book were necessary and helpful. ( )
  sleahey | Nov 22, 2020 |
My impulse at the end was 5 stars but I knocked it down to 4 because of the improbability of the ending. It's very effective and powerful, but so unlikely.

I loved the writing and the construction; the chapters seem self-contained and mostly disconnected but are very much thematically related and merge together as they near the conclusion. It's an uncommon structure that succeeds, for me, in capturing the ambiguity and piecemeal nature of a missing persons case like this one. The snapshots are limited but inform each other enough to complete the circle.

Different. Very recommended.

(Summer reading: a book set in another country.) ( )
1 abstimmen beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
The novel starts with a couple of little girls being abducted. Each chapter is titled for a consecutive month after that and focuses on different people somehow affected by the disappearance. Many of the characters are not very sympathetic and I found it really hard to engage with them as the book jumped randomly around from group to group. However, it was interesting to learn more about life in a big town (Petropovlosk?) in the Kamchatka peninsula, and about the tension between the ‘Whites’ (as the Russians are called) and the different native descendants. Also an overarching feeling amongst people who remember the Soviet Union of a loss of greatness, and a descent into crime and moral decay. Glad this one is finished. ( )
  Matt_B | Aug 26, 2020 |
...the mystery (which turns out to have quite a few twists; it's worth reading until the very end) isn't everything, either. As Phillips has said in interviews, her book is a means of exploring the violence in women's lives, violence in many forms: The aforementioned widowing, which occurs when a man dies in a car accident on an icy road. Domestic violence in all its abusive forms. Abduction, rape, keeping secrets. As the many characters live through the calendar year, they appear in each others' stories, bit by bit. If you're paying attention, you may figure who took the girls.
 
There will be those eager to designate “Disappearing Earth” a thriller by focusing on the whodunit rather than what the tragedy reveals about the women in and around it. And if there is a single misstep in Phillips’s nearly flawless novel, it arrives with the tidy ending that seems to serve the needs of a genre rather than those of this particularly brilliant novel. But a tidy ending does not diminish Phillips’s deep examination of loss and longing, and it is a testament to the novel’s power that knowing what happened to the sisters remains very much beside the point.
hinzugefügt von Lemeritus | bearbeitenNew York Times, Ivy Pochoda (bezahlte Seite) (May 14, 2019)
 
The ending of “Disappearing Earth” ignites an immediate desire to reread the chapters leading up to it: incidents and characters that seemed trivial acquire new meanings. The novel’s title comes from a scary story that Alyona tells her sister in the very first chapter, about a village on a bluff overlooking the ocean which is suddenly washed away by a tsunami. This story will be retold by the novel’s close, just as the novel will retell itself. What appears to be a collection of fragments, the remains of assorted personal disasters and the detritus of a lost empire, is in truth capable of unity. For the heirs of all that wreckage, discovering that they have the ability to achieve this unity—that they have had it all along—is the one great act of detection required of them.
hinzugefügt von Lemeritus | bearbeitenThe New Yorker, Laura Miller (May 13, 2019)
 
Storytelling is a major thread here, with the telling of stories starting and ending the book, and appearing throughout. Disappearing Earth is closer to a traditional novel than Elizabeth Strout’s Anything is Possible or Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, but its use of storytelling functions in much the same way, each chapter a story unto itself, the stories layered on top of those that came before, the threads and themes accruing as the book builds. The book never utilizes a point-of-view more than once. One of the downsides of this type of novel, of course, is that in not returning to characters and their particular stories, the reader may feel dissatisfied. In later stories, we catch glimpses or hear whispers of what’s happened to earlier characters, but there is a suspension here, a feeling of loss. This structure, though, nicely speaks to the loss of the girls, and allows that sense of incompletion to underscore the possibility that there may not be an ending at all, much less one that is fulfilling.
 
Storytelling is a major thread here, with the telling of stories starting and ending the book, and appearing throughout. Disappearing Earth is closer to a traditional novel than Elizabeth Strout’s Anything is Possible or Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, but its use of storytelling functions in much the same way, each chapter a story unto itself, the stories layered on top of those that came before, the threads and themes accruing as the book builds. The book never utilizes a point-of-view more than once. One of the downsides of this type of novel, of course, is that in not returning to characters and their particular stories, the reader may feel dissatisfied. In later stories, we catch glimpses or hear whispers of what’s happened to earlier characters, but there is a suspension here, a feeling of loss. This structure, though, nicely speaks to the loss of the girls, and allows that sense of incompletion to underscore the possibility that there may not be an ending at all, much less one that is fulfilling.
 
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One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year National Book Award Finalist Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize Finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize A Best Book of 2019: Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, NPR, Kirkus, AV Club, Vanity Fair, Variety, Esquire, Jezebel, Real Simple, The New York Post, Town & Country, Barnes & Noble, Library Journal, CBC, BookPage, BookBub, Book Riot, USA Today National Best Seller "Splendidly imagined . . . Thrilling" --Simon Winchester"A genuine masterpiece" --Gary Shteyngart Spellbinding, moving--evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world--this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer. One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls--sisters, eight and eleven--go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women. Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty--densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska--and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused. In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer's virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.

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