Monday, November 5, 2012

The Vanishing Act, Mette Jakobsen

It was snowing the morning I found the dead boy. The island with its two houses and one church was covered in a layer of snow.

It was Erin Morgenstern's blurb (she's the author of The Night Circus, one of my favorite books) which got me interested in this book. This is what she says: "This book is a precious thing. I want to keep it in a painted box with a raven feather and sea-polished stones, taking it out when I feel the need to visit Minou on her island again. The best stories change you. I am not the same after The Vanishing Act as I was before."

I don't think I loved it that much, but I certainly did enjoy it, and it's a very enchanting book. It's the story of Minou, who lives on a tiny snow-covered island with her philosopher Papa. The other inhabitants of the island are Boxman the magician, No-Name, his dog, and Priest the priest. A year before the story begins, Minou's mother disappeared. Minou knows that she isn't dead, despite her shoe being found washed up. Then one day, Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father lays him in her mother's room. Can Minou's mother's disappearance be explained by him? Minou will not accept that her mother is dead and using Descartes, is determined to find out what happened.

I thought this was a very interesting one, with an interesting premise. I love stories like this; however I didn't love this one, though I really liked it. I thought Minou's parents were interesting: her father is a philosopher-type, and he's interested in proofing everything with logic and reason, whereas her mother is more interested in the imagination. Two very different people, and then you have Minou, who tends more to reasoning and logic, but also the imagination.

This book definitely feels like a fable, and I'm very glad that I got it from W.W. Norton. I didn't love the writing style, but it was sweet and simple. Not nearly as good as Erin Morgenstern's writing style though. Still, I would definitely recommend it. I've included both the US and UK covers, as well as the Australian (original) cover. I think I like the British one best (the one on the left.)

Read The Vanishing Act:
  • if you like The Night Circus
  • if you like magic realism and/or fantasy (you could classify this as either)
217 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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