What starts off as a kidnapping mystery turns into a stunning novel told through interconnecting short stories. Julia Phillips’ debut novel is remarkable in its detail and nuance. Stunning!
May 2019 Indie Next List
“Julia Phillips is an author to watch. She beautifully transports us to a region of the world that I had never heard of and now can’t stop thinking about. The stories of the women there—their family dynamics, their hopes and fears, the economic and cultural divide of various communities—tell a moving story about this place in a moment in time, but ultimately about the universal struggle of women living with the expectations placed on them. A remarkable debut.”
— Casey Coonerty, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Summer 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List
“A thrilling and original debut novel that explores the lives of several women living in Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula whose lives are unknowingly connected by the unsolved disappearances of three girls. The mystery of the girls’ fates will keep you on the edge of your seat, but even more impressive is the way Phillips portrays the lives of her female characters—women who struggle to obtain a better life for themselves and their children, lives unencumbered by the racism, economic instability, and isolation inherent in living in a disregarded and harsh corner of Russia’s vast landscape.”
— Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
Finalist for The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
One August afternoon, two sisters—Sophia, eight, and Alyona, eleven—go missing from a beach on the far-flung Kamchatka Peninsula in northeastern Russia. Taking us through the year that follows, Disappearing Earth enters the lives of women and girls in this tightly knit community who are connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty—open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, dense forests, 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, Julia Phillips's 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.
About the Author
Julia Phillips is a Fulbright Fellow whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Moscow Times, and The Paris Review. She lives in Brooklyn.
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR The Washington Post, Esquire, Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, NPR, Real Simple, Entertainment Weekly, Variety, The A. V. Club, The New York Public Library
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize Finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award
“Superb. . . . Brilliant. . . . Phillips's deep examination of loss and longing . . . is a testament to the novel's power.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Thrilling. . . . This mystery takes you to a scrappy ice-bound town in Russia's frozen north. Rumors and rivalries, secrets and lies, all add up to a compelling portrayal of a community under siege.” —People
“Immensely moving.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Mesmerizing. . . . It's the strength of Phillips's writing, her careful attention to character and tone, that will grip you right up until the final heart-stopping pages.” —Vanity Fair
“A sophisticated and powerful literary thriller. . . . A knock-out.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Elegant, ingeniously interwoven. . . . As a series of character studies, it’s brilliant. . . . But Phillips never stops tracing Disappearing Earth’s arc, tilting her tapestry toward a singularly satisfying ending.” —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly “Invigoratingly hard to classify. . . . [Phillips] ingeniously dismantl[es] . . . convention[s] . . . . The ending of Disappearing Earth ignites an immediate desire to reread the chapters leading up to it.” —The New Yorker
“An addictive page turner.” —Cosmopolitan
“A miracle of structure, premise, and content, this ingenious debut spins out the narratives of twelve different women. . . . Reindeer herders, ballerinas, avalanches, volcanoes . . . Phillips’s luring writing will transform Kamchatka from a place you’ve never heard of to a place you never want to leave.” —The Rumpus
“[Weaves] 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.” —Vulture
“Stunning. . . . Beautifully delineated scenes. . . . The situations remain strange in their specificities and universal in their familiarity. . . . The mystery is worth reading until the very end.” —NPR
“Absorbing and extraordinarily well crafted. . . . It is a many-stranded crime story. It is also a complex portrait of clashing cultures.” —The Boston Globe “Unshakeable . . . Disappearing Earth has the makings of a lurid thriller, but first-time novelist Julia Phillips does something more sophisticated than that. . . . It’s so specific, and yet so universal. These are stories of women the world over.” —USA Today “Riveting, deeply rewarding. . . . As each succeeding story of “Disappearing Earth” takes us another month away from hope that Sophia and Alyona will be found alive, it becomes apparent that the book is not about the sisters but about a place so remote and unfriendly that it only takes a couple of months for a tragedy to become a dark fairy tale the characters tell one another. . . . Beautifully written fiction.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“An unforgettable novel. . . . Beautifully written and tremendously satisfying.” —Refinery29 “Accomplished and gripping. . . . Phillips’ spellbinding prose is saturated with sensuous nuance and emotional intensity, as she subtly traces the shadows of Russia’s past and illuminates today’s daunting complexities of gender and identity, expectations and longing.” —Booklist (starred review) “Cinematic. . . . A knockout novel that combines literary heft with a propulsive plot. . . . Phillips imagines a cold, desolate climate inhabited by characters who exude warmth and strength. . . . Dazzlingly original.” —Library Journal (starred review)
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