Julia Phillips’ debut novel is set on the remote Kamchatka Peninsula in northeast Russia, which is only accessible by sea or air; no roads connect it to the mainland. Readers of Disappearing Earth will spend a year on Kamchatka trying to solve the mystery of two sisters who do not return home after spending an afternoon at the beach. Each chapter introduces a new female character with a distinct story and a connection, either close or loose, to the missing sisters. Unifying these female voices are the themes of oppression, vulnerability, and suffering. Shifting perspectives, fond memories, and courageous acts of resilience and determination ease the tension and balance the book’s dark tones with the faintest touch of optimism.
“In the sunset, the pebbles on the shore shifted their color from black and gray to honey. Amber. They were brightening. Soon the stones would glow, and the water in the bay was going to turn pink and orange. Spectacular in the city center, where people feared to have their pretty daughters go. When Olya turned her head on the bench slats, electric white and yellow lines appeared in her peripheral vision. Her hair had caught the light. Her jacket, too, was sun-soaked. Saturated. Golden Olya. She concentrated on that light in the air.” ~ from the September chapter.
Learn more, with book reviews and author speaking engagements:
- Patrick, Bethann. “Kamchatka Is A Rich Backdrop For Mystery In ‘Disappearing Earth’”. NPR WBEZ 91.5, May 21, 2019. Accessed January 28, 2020.
- Pochoda, Ivy. “A Debut Novel Set on the Brooding, Remote Kamchatka Peninsula.” New York Times, May 14, 2019. Accessed January 28, 2020.
- Phillips, Julia. Librarian Open Book event at Penguin Random House, April 2019. Accessed January 28, 2020.
- Phillips, Julia. “An Evening with Julia Phillips, Author of ‘Disappearing Earth’”, October 17, 2019. Darien Library, Darien, CT. Accessed January 28, 2020.
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