Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips is a standalone adult fiction novel.
One day in August, on the shore of Kamchatka peninsula, in northern Russia, two young sisters go missing. The police investigate and are not able to find any trace of the girls. Where they taken? Did they run away? Are they dead?
What follows is the story of a small city and it’s outlying towns and how they cope with the disappearance of the girls. Month by month, the reader views different citizens and how the missing girls influence their lives, big and small. From a spotty witness, to the mother of a girl missing three years already, the head investigators wife, the girlfriend of a man who works with the girls mothers and more. Each character reveals their own story and through these stories we see the year pass.
In a community that is diverse, remote and politically charged, can the truth of the sisters absence be found?
When I first started this one, I thought the book was going to be about a community where young girls keep going missing, not the aftermath of one pair of girls. It actually ended up being more interesting this way. I kept trying to figure where the girls were going to come into each characters lives; how they were going to connect to the story as a whole. And sometimes they really didn’t, which was great too. This showed another lay of the city, how deeply or not deeply a disappearance affects people both near and far to the case.
I think the book also did a good job portraying the gossip, how people “talked” about the sisters. The sisters were the missing puzzle piece but the community itself was at the heart of the story.
I may be the minority in this one, but I almost wished the girls weren’t found. That we were left with that question mark because this is so often the case, as the mother even says in the story. I’m not sure a satisfying of an ending could have been had without the allusion to them being found but I wonder how else it might have ended.
This one gets 4 stars from me and only because a few parts dragged.
That’s all for now!