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The Disapparation of James Paperback – January 28, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I could see it all unfolding, hear it all. The details, the scenes and the dialog are expertly drawn.
But ultimately it is Ursu's themes - the randomness of loss, the chaos of a world where it takes so much courage to hold onto faith, and the risk we take when we love deeply - that makes this book a memorable one.
The Disapparation of James is a beautifully written and heartbreaking fairy tale for the times we live in.
It's an unsettling story, with multiple points of view, and multiple realities. James, is a shy, quiet little boy, who is enthralled with the idea of seeing this magician. His parents and sister are delighted when James is brought to be on stage with the magician, and reveals an outgoing, cheerful side of himself. All is well until James really does disappear.
We see this nightmare through the eyes of everyone involved. We feel the mother's and father's separate terrors and pains, we see the sister's valiant attempts to figure out how to find James, we feel useless along with the detective assigned to watch over the family, and we see the bewilderment of the magician, himself. Where did James go?
Now, that in itself, could be a story unto itself, but Anne Ursu chooses instead to focus on the drama at home. The fact that she doesn't really explore what did happen to James is a bit of a disappointment, but the story she does tell is amazing by itself.
It's a story full of very quiet terrors, humors, and the unsettling notion that life can not only change at any second, but we may not even realize it when it does. Her writing style may be a little disorienting at first, but I think that once you start reading in earnest, it would be hard to put this book down.
So how do they cope? How do they change? Will things ever be made right? The author looks deeply into each of the characters--the father, the mother, the big sister, the clown who set it all in motion, the policeman who is supposed to guard the family--and explores their inner worlds. How will they deal with grief? What childhood demons still pursue them? What are their dreams and hopes? And what fantasies of magic and power do they still hold dear?
A profoundly psychological study of loss, grief and coping, magic is the metaphor that holds it together. Magic as illusion. Magic as escape. And the ever-haunting question--is there real magic? Author Anne Ursu writes extremely well, in lucid and simple prose. She draws you in quickly and engages you so that you can't stop reading. The characters soon become real and you care what happens to them. Well, yes, it is a bit overdone at points, a bit too sentimental, but it works well. I recommend this one highly. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
However, at a few points in the story, I felt the writing dried just a little and appeared merely competent, but overall it is a novel well worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The disappearance or death of a child is quite literally a parent's worst nightmare, and there are countless thrillers revolving around such scenarios. Read morePublished on January 22, 2013 by A. Ross
What is the point of reading this morbid tripe? Get up and smell the cat food. Chick lit has evolved into psycho-horror stuff where everything in the world and relationships is... Read morePublished on July 29, 2010 by email@example.com
Okay, it's probably pretty hard to tell how I felt about this book, right?
I always want to love a book as much as I loved 'I Know This Much Is True' by Wally Lamb. Read more
This book made me do something I've never done before... I actually teared up while reading it, on the bus, on the way to work one morning. Read morePublished on May 1, 2006 by Stefanie
Although the hype on this book was very good, the only thing I can agree with is the statement, "Dreamlike", and a tedious, boring dream at that. Read morePublished on March 27, 2004 by J. L. Stephens
One can only wish the young author the best success in all her future books! "Disapparition" is simply among the best written, most mesmorizing family loss books ever written. Read morePublished on December 16, 2003 by Hans Castorp
Takes an unlikely--indeed unbelievable--premise and makes out of it a thoroughly charming and wonderful story. Surprising, compassionate and gripping. Read morePublished on October 21, 2003 by Margaret
What would you do if your child simply vanished? Not an abduction or an accident, they are as the novel simply states, "Poof", gone into thin air. Read morePublished on August 13, 2003 by J. Fercho
A young boy diappears on stage in the midst of a magic act. Poof! Where did he go? How will the family deal with this disappearing act? Read morePublished on June 3, 2003 by lady detective