One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the north-eastern edge of Russia, two sisters are abducted. 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.
Set on the remote Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth draws us into the world of an astonishing cast of characters, all connected by an unfathomable crime. 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 provides a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.
Praise for Disappearing Earth
“A genuine masterpiece, but one that is easily consumed in a feverish stay-up-all-night bout of reading pleasure.”
“Suspenseful, original and compelling, Disappearing Earth is a strange and haunting voyage into a strange and haunting world.’
Simon Sebag-Montefiore, author of The Romanovs
“Julia Phillips is at once a careful cartographer and gorgeous storyteller… . A mystery of two missing girls burns at the center of this astonishing debut, and the complexity of ethnicity, gender, hearth and kin illuminates this question and many more.”
Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
‘A most extraordinarily beautiful and haunting first novel, and the unveiling of a rare and special talent’ New Statesman
‘A knock-out… .The stitches of Phillips’s language make you go, Damn, that’s good.’ The Los Angeles Review of Books
‘A superb debut.’ New York Times
‘Phillips explores the devastation in this complex, imaginative and beautifully written crime novel, which is as beautiful as the scenery it depicts.’ Woman’s Weekly
‘I was so absorbed I forgot to take notes…each new domestic world was deftly conjured and fresh.’ Sarah Moss, The Guardian
‘This book takes the ‘missing girl’ trope and turns it on its head’ Elle
‘Intriguing, tantalising, perfectly executed.’ Spectator