Sunday, 5 January 2020

Review: Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Two sisters living on a remote Russian peninsula who are abducted and the effect their disappearance has on many of the women from the town form the premise of this beautifully written and often intense book. Sophia and Alyona are playing on the beach when they accept a ride home from a strange man. The girls do not return home. As the months pass, the effect that this tragic event has on the local women is showcased in each chapter, just as the reader is treated to an intimate glimpse of the everyday lives of these women in a part of the world that is often misunderstood, and where life can sometimes be very tough indeed.  As time goes on, Sophia and Alyona slowly fade from their thoughts, as is sadly, can be true in real life.

As I stated at the beginning of this review, this novel is beautifully written and often intense. I loved the intimate glimpse that author Julia Phillips provides into the lives of each of the characters, whether it be  Olya who suffers the pain of being rejected by her best friend, student Ksyusha whose relationships with two men are so very different or Valentina who has an illness that she does not speak about. Sadly, I feel that I missed, some of the nuances about life in Russia, though these may become a little more apparent with a little research and a second reading. 

Overall, Disappearing Earth is an absorbing and well written novel set in a part of the world that we hear so little of in Australia.

Recommended.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for my beautiful hardcover copy.