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When We Disappear: A Novel Paperback – June 5, 2018
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“When We Disappear is a remarkable novel that does what only great fiction can do: it explores the profound interaction between our individual inner lives and the outer world, particularly that most immediate and influential corner of the world, family. And great fiction this is. Lise Haines has long been one of my favorite writers. When We Disappear reveals her at the peak of her prodigious power.” ~ Robert Olen Butler
“When We Disappear is a singularly gorgeous meditation on the wild complexities of family life. Lise Haines is a wonder, and this is her most thrilling book to date. ~ Laura van den Berg
"I've been a fan of Lise Haines since reading her early novel Small Acts of Sex and Electricity. I must admit that I wondered if she could ever top that effort, but I'm pleased to report that in her surprising and expansive new novel When We Disappear, she has succeeded magnificently. The prose here is as energetic as in that early book, and if anything, the story and the characters are even more compelling. This is a moving piece of fiction from a writer at the zenith of her impressive powers. I loved it." ~ Steve Yarbrough
About the Author
- Publisher : Unbridled Books (June 5, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1609531477
- ISBN-13 : 978-1609531478
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,898,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Yet this event coincides with Mona’s teenage years and Richard’s life as the economy causes him to lose his job. His answer is to leave home, “looking for a job” and wandering from state to state. He meets people of all kind, no spoilers here, who represent various personalities, careers, etc., including circus people, and other normal and different types. Mona’s Mom, who is extremely talented in making sculptures that sell and show in galleries with great acclaim until the failing economy forces her to put her artistic career on hold. Now they must sell their home, move into a small apartment and make do with whatever money they can make with occasional small amounts sent by Richard.
Mona is basically rebelling against it all. She develops her own artistic senses as a photographer, sleeps with the man training her in her future career and other guys. Yet there’s a sense of responsibility that endearingly holds her to monitor the well-being of her Mom and her sister Lola, as well as expressing her teenage angst with snipes of irony and more.
You will have to wait for the incredible ending of this poignant story to experience the surprising quality of closeness and separation that abide together in this unique priceless family.
Lise Haines is a phenomenal writer. This is not a bleak book despite its tragic circumstances. It’s a story of loss, lies, betrayal, deep love and rehabilitation which makes every one of its characters grow into true human richness! This is a potent, unusual and memorable read that this reviewer highly recommends!
It is 2007 and Mona's family has fallen on hard times. Her father, Richard, lost his job and now has left his family (Liz, his wife, and daughters Mona, 17, and Lola, 3) in Illinois to go to New Jersey for a new job. Now Liz, a sculptor, needs to curtail her art to work to support the girls. Lola is young, but Mona is old enough to resent her father leaving without saying goodbye. But then, Mona stopped listening to her father's stories years ago. Now he sends money, but it is never enough. He sends postcards to Lola and letters to Mona. Mona lives through her photography, starts and affair with an older photographer, and rejects her father's stories.
The narrative switches between chapters from Mona and Richard's points-of-view. We know how both characters feel and what they are both experiences. We see the whole family falling apart, struggling, yet not openly talking to each other and telling the truth about what is going on in all their lives. Part of Mona's anger and resentment toward her father goes back years ago to an incident, an accident, that happened when she was with her father and something they never discussed with her mother.
The writing is excellent in When We Disappear, and Haines captures both Mona's and Richard's individual inner voices with perfection. Both Mona and Richard are well-developed characters and we can clearly see their individual efforts to endure their pain and how they are trying to cope with their situations. Mona's photography helps sustain her and she tries to be strong for her mother and Lola. Richard is hurting more than he is admitting. This is a very emotional novel, however, it is difficult to see these wounded struggling people close themselves off from each other for much of the book and not sharing the reality of what they are all going through.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Unbridled Books.