Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips; Book Review

Disappearing earth

Disappearing Earth. The story of a tightly-wound mother who has a troubling doctors’ appointment. A camping trip that tests the relationship of a new couple. A young woman engages in a world of infidelity. Two cousins reconnect at a New Year’s Eve party. What if all of their lives are intricately connected without them even knowing it?

In Russia, in remote Kamchatka to be exact, two young girls are kidnapped in broad daylight. Disappeared without a trace. Despite the efforts of their mother, a witness, and the region’s police force, the pair left their community in fear and confusion.

The story that only over the course of one year, made the people of Kamchatka find themselves drawn deep into the mystery.

Their lives influenced in subtle and into many ways by the tragedy. Old ethnic and cultural tensions flare. Families become strongly strained. Relationships are tested perhaps beyond repair.

Disappearing Earth; the premise:

Disappearing Earth’s promise; This book is interesting enough as two young girls disappear from a Russian town. Which sends the townspeople reeling over the next few months as the investigation turns up nothing. This premise was the immediate reason behind choosing this novel. It doesn’t focus on the psychology it doesn’t linger on troubling details of the crime itself.

The Kamchatka Peninsula has always been mysterious and unreachable. The landscape and its diversity regarding the population are the main themes of the novel. The abduction of two girls is only the pretext for portraying modern inhabitants, their dreams, and failures.

The first chapter tells the story of the kidnapping. But if you want to read a thriller in which you might seek a thorough investigation done by a team of clever police officers, you will be disappointed. But you will not be disappointed if you want to learn about the lives of ordinary people living in that remote region.

Each chapter tells us a story of a different female character. A character loosely connected with the two abducted girls. You will be especially touched by two of them. One being that of the girls’ mother, and the other of a woman who loses her four-legged friend with whom she has a special bond.

It is interesting that men in this novel appear only in the background. Men are not given a chance to reflect on their inner lives. Coincidence? I do not think so. The beauty of the landscape. The way the indigenous population relates to. It is exceptionally vividly presented.

Kamchatka (Камчатка)

The Story:

Two sisters ages eight and eleven go missing on the Kamchatka peninsula. Although they quickly called the police to investigate, they do not find anything. No clues, and no evidence. They are missing without a trace. This could have been a mystery about two missing girls. But it became so much more. Everything comes together in a very seamless manner. Loss, even when remote, can trickle down from person to person, affecting them in shocking and unexpected ways.


Through the eyes of the people of this town, the police, friends, and neighbours, we learn a little about this town, about the people of this town, as well as their views on what they believe happened to Alyona and Sophia. For a while, the news holds their attention, and then life goes on.


In a special style, this story unfolds through the eyes and thoughts of the people who live there. Slowly. Very, very slowly. This is not a fast-paced that makes you heart in your throat kind of story. It is heartbreaking that you share with compassion, and felt very real. A stunning debut novel.

Story Review in just 3 Paragraphs

Kamchatka (Камчатка)

If you read the synopsis, it may inform you that this is a story that involves the disappearance of two young girls in a remote part of Russia. But the story’s real gold here is the ripple effect of how this event disturbs the lives of a large cast of characters.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller or a police procedural focusing on the kidnapping. That’s not what this story is, but it offers something far more valuable and insightful.

We do get some answers by the end of the book, but the beauty of this tale is that the disappearance is simultaneously at the forefront and background. As it is the driving factor of the choices that these townspeople make over the following calendar year. But it also doesn’t take the flashy centre stage to allow the reader to connect with each narrator along the way.

When each character’s chapter ends you’ll find yourself wishing for more of that characters’ story. But the novel reflects real life by offering us only short glimpses into their lives. It’s like talking to a stranger or briefly catching up with an old friend. A short burst of a reminder that other people’s lives are every bit as intricate as our own.

Personal opinion:

One of the strongest aspects of this book is its ability to create a strong sense of place, to the point that the setting and atmospheric descriptions are just as much characters of the story as the people we hear from. Disappearing Earth is a slow-burning character study, but it never felt dull or boring. If you’re looking for a unique read, one that is reminiscent of literary fiction without pretense or snobbery, look no further.

Book Review in typewriter of disappearing earth

Disappearing Earth conclusive opinon

Excellent storytelling. On top of all that: the writing Looks gorgeous as it gave all the different Russian names – and a few slow parts – this book will have lasting power for me. In fact it gives me many pieces of information about the Kamchatka peninsula region, and some of its fabulous history.


It was such a perfect cap to an emotional, riveting book and it’s a book you can feel deep within your gut, one that will stay with you long after you’re done. It’s wholly original setting and dynamic take on an exhausted genre make it incredibly binge-worthy For a debut “the author -Julia Phillips” should definitely be applauded and personally satisfied. Highly recommended! And I simply cannot wait to see what the author decides to regale us with next!

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