Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: The Disappearance by Efrem Sigel

This was another LibraryThing Early Reviewer book. And this one was spectacular. Slow to get started, The Disappearance did pick up in pace, and by the end, I couldn't put it down. This novel tells the story of Joshua, Nathalie, and Daniel Sandler, before and after Daniel's mysterious disappearance one August afternoon. But it's not a mystery. The fact that Dan is missing is, rather, the fulcrum on which Josh and Nathalie's marriage teeters. The book tells the story of how their marriage is rent and the question the reader faces is whether the pieces of their marriage can be stitched back together or whether they will flutter apart for good. The undercurrent is, of course, the whodunnit of Dan's disappearance.

I really don't want to say much more about the plot, since I don't want to give it away. But Sigel excels in bringing the pastoral northeastern part of the country to life. He draws the landscape in breathtaking detail, so that the reader knows every inch of the land almost as intimately as Josh does. Josh was a sympathetic character, the distraught father, ceaselessly searching for his missing son. Nathalie, however, was a bit two-dimensional for me, but that could simply be a symptom of the way she expressed her grief; while Josh was spurred into frenzied action by his sadness and anger, Nathalie was stupefied and frozen by hers.

I can't say how much I enjoyed this book, which was wonderful, after the disappointment of the last Early Reviewer book I read. Four and a half out of five Whatevers. I think of myself as someone who requires a great deal of action out of her reading, in order to be satisfied. Despite the fact that there is very little action in this novel, or rather that the action occurs slowly, over a long period of time, I enjoyed the characters and the setting enough that this worked for me. And there was enough of a mystery behind Dan's disappearance that I wanted to hang in there and find out who, in fact, DID do it. Lovely. Just lovely.

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