Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $23.95
  • Save: $3.11 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Vanishing Act: A Nove... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Vanishing Act: A Novel Hardcover – September 17, 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$20.84
$0.97 $0.01

Truly Madly Guilty
"Truly Madly Guilty" by Liane Moriarty
The new novel from Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, and What Alice Forgot, about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how extraordinary our ordinary lives are until it’s too late. Learn more | See author page
$20.84 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover


Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best stories change you. The Vanishing Act is that kind of tale" Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus "A strange poetic and ghostly story... There are echoes of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe but otherwise there is a rare freshness to her storytelling. She relies on using sophisticated but sparse language to create a magical world and story about the grown-up themes of love, loss and - intriguingly - philosophy that can be read and enjoyed by both grown-ups and young adults. And not a vampire in sight" Daily Mail "Works just as well as a one-dimensional story as it does a thought provoking fable as the beautifully written, haunting set pieces testify" -- Ani Johnson Bookbag "It is abundant in terms of atmosphere and the beautiful innocence of childhood" PA Review - South Wales Argus "A perfectly poised, fable-like tale of loss, written with delightful whimsy, deep empathy and a beguiling sense of innocence" Graeme Base --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Mette Jakobsen was born in Denmark in 1964. She holds degrees in philosophy and creative writing and is the author of several plays. The Vanishing Act is her first novel. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (September 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393062929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393062922
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Vanishing Act is a well written and captivating story with mixture of fantasy and philosophy. This story is like a beautiful painting whose brush strokes are poetic and descriptive.

The central theme is about a twelve year old girl named Minou and the disappearance of her mother. One day her mother puts on her best shoes, takes her big black umbrella and walks out the house never to be seen again.

Everyone thinks she is dead, except for Minou. She does not believe her mother is dead, but will return one day. She keeps a journal, building a case with the reasons why she believes her mother is still alive.

While Minou was walking on the beach, she comes across the body of a dead boy. She runs to tell her father. Her father comes and carries the dead boy to their home. He decides to put the dead boy on the bed in Minou's mother's blue room until the ship arrives in three days. In the interim, he opens the window to make sure the boy's body remains frozen.

Minou's father is a philosopher from the descendant of Descartes searching for the absolute truth. Both Minou and her father struggle to find answers and figure out what happened.

Her father believes the key to finding the absolute truth is somehow connected to the dead boy's body. He thinks he will get the answer (as does Minou) by sitting with him for three days until the ship arrives.

Minou and her father live on a small, remote island surrounded by the ocean. I get the impression the island is in the middle of nowhere. The only people living on this isolated island is Minou, her papa, a Priest, Boxman the magician and his dog, No Name.

You never quite know where any of them come from (except for Minou) and/or how they wound up on the island.
Read more ›
2 Comments 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy books that are a little "different" in story line and character development. I read the statement by Erin Morgenstern, author of "The Night Circus" (a book I highly enjoyed and recommend) and felt that if she was enthralled by this book, that I would probably enjoy it as well. I did enjoy the unusual story and the unusual characters, but, for me, it lacked the enchantment of "The Night Circus" and therefore, I give it only three stars.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while there's a book that I love with such gusto I know other people will throw it across the room, and this is one of those books. It's not a novel; it's a story, like a fairy tale or fable or myth. It has morbid elements and fanciful elements and it doesn't tie itself up in a bow. It's a story about a tiny island with seventeen trees on which only five people and a dog live, and then one leaves, Minou's mama. And then it's a tiny island with seventeen trees and four people, and a dog, and occasionally a visitor. And it has sentences like this:

"Uncle nodded, still looking pale, and then told me that he used to be scared of ghosts.
'Aren't you scared anymore?' I asked.
'I started looking straight at them,' he said. 'Then they stopped coming so close.'"

If you read the story straight-up, you'll probably be confused and annoyed, because not that much happens. If you read it to learn something about life, I think you might love it. I certainly do.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Minou lives on a tiny island with her father. The island's other inhabitants are the Preacher and Boxman, who makes boxes used by magicians, and the dog No Name. One day, Minou discovers the body of a boy on the beach. She and her father bring them to their small home and keep him cold in one of the bedrooms until the boatmen come with their delivery of supplies. Minou's mother disappeared about a year ago, and they found only one shoe. While Minou holds on to the hope that she will return, her father, a philosopher/fisherman believes she drowned and had a funeral for his wife. Minou relates her family history on the island, including her mother's first appearance in a boat with a peacock and a golden bowl, along with her suitcase. We see how her father became enchanted with this strange woman, and also see the relationships between the other inhabitants and island history. Both of her parents mention trauma from a war, and both Priest and Boxman have their own sadness. While beautifully written from Minou's perspective, the story's plot does not have a strong driving force. I kept expecting something significant to happen to drive the story forward, but this did not occur. The story might even be interpreted as a fantasy in Minou's mind, perhaps to deal with her mother's disappearance/death.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
It was Erin Morgenstern's blurb (she's the author of The Night Circus, one of my favorite books) which got me interested in this book. This is what she says: "This book is a precious thing. I want to keep it in a painted box with a raven feather and sea-polished stones, taking it out when I feel the need to visit Minou on her island again. The best stories change you. I am not the same after The Vanishing Act as I was before."

I don't think I loved it that much, but I certainly did enjoy it, and it's a very enchanting book. It's the story of Minou, who lives on a tiny snow-covered island with her philosopher Papa. The other inhabitants of the island are Boxman the magician, No-Name, his dog, and Priest the priest. A year before the story begins, Minou's mother disappeared. Minou knows that she isn't dead, despite her shoe being found washed up. Then one day, Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father lays him in her mother's room. Can Minou's mother's disappearance be explained by him? Minou will not accept that her mother is dead and using Descartes, is determined to find out what happened.

I thought this was a very interesting one, with an interesting premise. I love stories like this; however I didn't love this one, though I really liked it. I thought Minou's parents were interesting: her father is a philosopher-type, and he's interested in proofing everything with logic and reason, whereas her mother is more interested in the imagination. Two very different people, and then you have Minou, who tends more to reasoning and logic, but also the imagination.

This book definitely feels like a fable, and I'm very glad that I got it from W.W. Norton. I didn't love the writing style, but it was sweet and simple.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Vanishing Act: A Novel
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Vanishing Act: A Novel