Disappearing Earth

Finalist, National Book Awards 2019 for Fiction

ISBN 9780525520412
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House
Julia Phillips

Julia Phillips is a Fulbright fellow whose writing has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Atlantic, Slate, and The Moscow Times. She lives in Brooklyn. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls–sisters, eight and eleven–go missing. 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.

Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. 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 brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.

 

Judges Citation

In Disappearing Earth, Julia Phillips’s cunning, masterful debut novel, we are transported to the far reaches of Russia, where two little girls have gone missing. Through luminous, sharp prose, we meet the women and girls living in the aftermath and discover the more ordinary, everyday ways they suffer trauma and fight to survive. Disappearing Earth is a poetic thriller, as propulsive and enthralling as it is profound.

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