Disappearing Earth
by Julia Phillips


Overview -
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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More About Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
 
 
 
Overview
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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780525520412
  • ISBN-10: 0525520414
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: May 2019
  • Page Count: 272
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Women
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Psychological
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Disappearing Earth

Although it may seem that every square inch of the earth has been mapped, there are still places that are mysterious. The Kamchatka Peninsula is one such place. You’ve seen it on a map, extending like a swollen appendage from the northeastern edge of Russia into the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk. Maybe you’ve wondered about the people who live there. Does anyone live there?

Of course, people do live in Kamchatka, both in real life and in Julia Phillips’ powerful debut novel. There are those from the indigenous and the white Russian population. The book opens when two little white girls are snatched from the seaside by a creep. The rest of the book concerns both the search for these two girls and the mystery of how they could have vanished on a peninsula all but cut off from the rest of Russia by a mountain range.

The book’s many characters are introduced in the preface, which calls to mind all those classic Russian novels with sprawling casts. But at the same time, Disappearing Earth is utterly contemporary. Cellphones are as inescapable in Kamchatka as they are anywhere else, even though they’re frequently out of range.

Phillips’ focus is on her female characters. There are the missing Golosovsky girls and their desperate mother; unhappy schoolgirls; a new mother going out of her mind with boredom; and a bitter vulcanologist with a missing dog. We hear from a native woman whose own daughter disappeared years before, as well as from her other daughter and her daughter’s children. Most of these women brush or bump up against each other, connected, sometimes tenuously, by the disappearance of the Golosovsky girls. The men in their lives aren’t so much useless as they are in the way. The cops give up the search, and husbands, fathers, boyfriends and brothers just don’t get it.

Besides the deep humanity of her characters, Phillips’ portrayal of Kamchatka itself is superb. Has there ever been a novel, even by Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, set in such a strange, ancient, beautiful place, with its glaciers and volcanoes and endless cold? It’s a place where miracles might happen—where what is lost can once again be found—if you jump over a traditional New Year’s fire in just the right way. Phillips’ stunning novel dares to imagine the possibilities.

 
BAM Customer Reviews