BOOK THOUGHTS: Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

This is a book I read during a six month binge of literary novels (not at all my usual fare!) and I really really enjoyed it. I am very drawn to books with strong and interesting settings, and this book, kind of a collection of interlocking short stories that form a bigger picture, is set in a remote part of Russia I really was not familiar with, which I found very exciting.

Definitely worth your time! 🙂

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips – BLURB:

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the north-eastern edge of Russia, two sisters are abducted. 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.

Set on the remote Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth draws us into the world of an astonishing cast of characters, all connected by an unfathomable crime. 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 provides a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.

(Blurb taken from Goodreads)

BOOK REVIEW: Disappearing Earth

This book really blew me away.

I admit at first I wasn’t sure I liked the structure, but then suddenly I just connected with it very deeply and the end felt really powerful and satisfying! I also think it is a fascinating way to tell a crime story, through a series of connected stories with the crime out of focus unfolding in the background. Sometimes through news articles or gossip, or through the eyes of someone related to the victims, it is a very interesting ride, kind of like you, as the reader, must be the detective and ensure you are collecting each clue to form the larger whole. I ended up liking this structure very much.

The other thing I loved about this book was its setting. It takes place on the isolated Russian peninsula of Kamchatka, not a place I knew much about and I just loved learning about it through this book! What a fascinating read. And very emotional too.

My favourite thing is to read books set in places around the world I don’t know much about, I am a big lover of fiction, and feel there is so much to discover by reading like that!

I definitely recommend this book if you are interested in a dark literary crime novel.


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