Where's the book?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Incredible Vanishing Book
Did you ever read a book that, while you are reading it, you're forgetting it? You put it down, pick it up a couple of hours later, and, honestly, it's like you're picking it up for the first time. Who are these characters? Where are they? Why are they doing what they're doing?

It's not that you don't like it -- it's that you literally cannot remember anything about it from one minute to the next.

If you're interested in experiencing this unique reading phenomenon, try The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits. I would give you a brief plot outline, but I can't remember the plot. It has something to do with a woman who has powerful psychic abilities. There's a school for these people (like the school for mutants in X-Men?) and she has a mentor, and the mentor is trying to solve a mystery, and she gets involved in the mystery. There's a psychic attack, and an artist/pornographer, and a woman who may or may not be real, and a mother who committed suicide when our heroine was an infant.

There -- I actually surprised myself by remembering that much. I do remember that the plot is convoluted and confusing (one of my great writing teachers used to say, "There is no excuse for lack of clarity," and I think many authors need to learn that). Nothing feels real or authentic, the level of absurdity approaches comic book heights (maybe she was inspired by X-Men), and, worst authorial sin of all, it all gets boring. It's a soup with too many ingredients, and the ingredients themselves are often inedible.

The cover sure is pretty, though.

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