Review Blog

Jul 17 2019

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

cover image

Scribner, 2019. ISBN: 9781471185861.
(Age: 15 to Adult) Highly recommended. Set over the course of a year, each of the twelve chapters examines a month in the lives of different women and their families, all intricately connected by the disappearance of two young girls. This remarkable book takes place on Kamchatka, a remote peninsular in far-Eastern Russia, and is rich with descriptions of the volcanic landscape and tundra with their herds of reindeer. We are given an insight into lives filled with loss and longing, of ethnic tensions and traditional Russian values trying to find a place in the modern world.
While the mystery of the girls' disappearance begins the book and the investigation is interwoven throughout, this actually reads more like a series of short stories, with each focusing on a different woman who has been somehow affected by the event including family members, a witness, and a detective. There are many characters, and it is easy to get them mixed up, but thankfully the author has provided a list of primary characters at the start of the book. This book was not at all what I expected it to be, it is so much more.
Donella Reed

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