What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared? Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home—and the place where Juliet grew up. Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together—scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream—vanish every seven years. No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible—and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.
Magical realism is a genre that is very hard to execute well. If it is done correctly it opens the door to a whole new world. Done incorrectly the story just seems silly. The ‘Disappearance’ is done so amazingly well that I was entirely enthralled. The story painted vivid pictures in my mind. The scenes are unbelievably detained and brought you into Aila’s world.
I was extremely excited to realize that ‘The Disappearances’ is set in the 1940’s. A time without cell phones, computers, the internet, or even tv. The setting helps to highlight just how out-of-place the ‘disappearances’ are. The time frame also shows how much was sacrificed by everyone during WWII and what a time of uncertainty it was.
The characters of Aila and Miles juxtaposed each other perfectly and I connected with Aila right away. Dr. and Mrs. Cliffton were quirky and fit well with the storyline.
Another element that added a lot to the story is Aila’s quest to figure out who her mother really was and why the ‘disappearances’ are happening. Aila does this by following literary clues that her mother left. This adds another dimension to the story and kept me turning pages.
My only real complaint is that the literary clues often left me a little confused. I also had to keep flipping back to remember where specific clues were coming from and what certain terms meant.I would have liked to have a map of the four towns that the story is centered around and perhaps a glossary of various terms.
I absolutely loved ‘The Disappearances’ and can not believe this is Murphy’s début novel. It is not only an amazing story but also makes you stop and appreciate the little things in life that we often take for granted.