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Phillips plots with methodical flair; the depth of her storytelling prowess reveals itself. Phillips lets her experience [in Kamchatka] shimmer lightly in details [of] beautifully delineated scenes—situations strange in their specificities and universal in their familiarity. The mystery is worth reading until the very end.

A dead or missing girl is such a common device in crime fiction that its use now prompts raised eyebrows. But Julia Phillips ingeniously dismantles conventions.

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As remote as this world is, readers will find it strangely familiar. Young mothers chafe at the confinement of family responsibilities, craving risks their older counterparts dread. For Phillips, the intricate web linking her characters—bonds that can suffocate, sustain, or expose—is not a mystery to be uncovered by a solitary detective.

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What appear to be fragments, the remains of assorted personal disasters and the detritus of a lost empire, is in truth capable of unity. The paradox of Ms. The book opens with the abduction of two young sisters. You wonder if the kidnapped girls are going to be forgotten, but Ms.

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Phillips returns to their fate, tying together subtly dropped clues. Written with passion and patience, this is the story of a people and the land that shapes them. A mystery of two missing girls burns at the center of this astonishing debut, and the complexity of ethnicity, gender, hearth and kin illuminates this question and many more.

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Reindeer herders, ballerinas, avalanches, volcanoes. Rumors and rivalries, secrets and lies, all add up to a compelling portrayal of a community under siege. By taking us through the year after the sisters were kidnapped, character by character, slowly spiraling back, Phillips is able to strike at so much of what ails not only Russia but also most tradition-bound areas all over the world today. Disappearing Earth has the makings of the thriller when two sisters vanish without a trace [on] the isolated, punishing Kamchatka peninsula. All the women yearn for something more than they have.

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Phillips is so skilled at conveying place and people, you can feel the chill of the shadow cast by Soviet-style apartment buildings, smell the blood soup, taste the burn of cheap vodka drunk too fast to numb the pain. These are stories of women the world over. Two girls disappear near the shore of the Kamchatka Peninsula as far east as Russia goes , and Phillips proceeds to track inhabitants in some way connected to the crime over a year, weaving a net as taut and intricate as any thriller plot, but rich in detail about relationships, historical scars, and the specific and universal trials of being a woman.

It's as much a portrait of humanity as of a small Kamchatka community.

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Set in remote Kamchatka, a landscape of volcanoes and vast tundra nine time zones east of Moscow, it is a many-stranded crime story. It is also a complex portrait of clashing cultures—both white and indigenous. Phillips draws intricately detailed characters, and we quickly come to know them intimately. Yet her primary interest is in social forces — especially those that nurture dangerous men while devaluing girls and women who seem too independent, too headstrong, too sexual.

Ambiguity about the fates of [the girls] allows room for both hope and dread, and Phillips skillfully spins out that suspense.

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Phillips alights chapter by chapter on various residents of a remote Russian peninsula. But at the same time, Disappearing Earth is utterly contemporary. 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?

Disappearing Earth: A novel (Hardcover)

Phillips imagines a cold, desolate climate inhabited by characters who exude warmth and strength. Dazzlingly original. In this Age of Obama, the search couldn't be more timely, nor the result more gratifying. He recounts his family's history with a soft heart and a wry, detached tone, unquestioning and accepting of their flaws as well as their accomplishments.

James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth century, flush with opportunity. A winter in the mountains of Californias Siskiyou County introduces a tempting opportunity. A friend grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, hell pull down enough cash to survive for months. James navigates life as a mule, then a boss—from moneyhungry friends to gun-toting drug lords, from Sacramento to Tallahassee, from just making the weight move cross-country to making thousands of dollars a day.

The risks keep rising, forcing him to the next criminal level. A kidnapping, a shootout, a bank vault—it all culminates in a swirl of action. Absorbing and timely, Mule perfectly captures the anxieties of plunging into the criminal world and of being a young person making do in a moment when the American Dream you never had to believe in—because it was handed to you, fully wrapped and ready to go at the takeout window— suddenly vanishes from the menu.

A novel about the recession generation and a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through. Despite the omnipresence of AIDS, he courts a stunning Peul girl, meets his neighbors wife in the darkened forest, and desperately pursues the village flirt. The people and their language have remained close to his heart and his thoughts ever since, even when his family moved to neighbouring South Africa while he was still young. He has lived in Canada for years but returned to Namibia several years ago to write a travel narrative called Counting Teeth , a book that also served to fuel his memories and inspire barbarians.

Genocide creates cross-generational trauma. The Namibian genocide, he said, is relevant to his own history but genocide affects everyone of every culture and country. His book is a narrative of fond remembrance folded into a really evocative, well-sculpted world where the aftermath of such a painful act of war and atrocity is plainly laid out. Midgley writes with his senses so, even if the country or its history are foreign to you, it becomes alive and breathes warm air into you.

This is really a book like no other.