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The Artist of Disappearance

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  1,020 Ratings  ·  181 Reviews
A triptych of beautifully crafted novellas make up Anita Desai’s exquisite new book. Set in modern India, but where history still casts a long shadow, the stories move beyond the cities to places still haunted by the past, and to characters who are, each in their own way, masters of self-effacement. 

In ‘The Museum of Final Journeys’ an unnamed government official is calle
Hardcover, 156 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published August 4th 2011)
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Jan 29, 2016 Sawsan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ثلاث روايات قصيرة لأنيتا ديساي, وأسلوب غني بالوصف وتصوير الشخصيات وعوالمها المختلفة
الرابط بين الروايات الثلاث هو الرغبة والأمل في الحفاظ على شيء جميل وأصيل: تحف فنية, لغة أصلية, الطبيعة بكل تنوعها وجمالها
ومع كل رواية تعرض الكاتبة معاني مختلفة, خيارات الانسان في المراحل الانتقالية والمهمة في حياته.
الشغف لتحقيق الأحلام الذي يقوى من فترة لأخرى في الحياة إلى أن يختفي في اعتيادية الواقع.
البيئة الطبيعية وما تتعرض له من انتهاكات وتدهور.
أكتر رواية عجبتني الرواية التانية "المترجمة"

Friederike Knabe
Nov 10, 2011 Friederike Knabe rated it it was amazing
Ever since discovering Anita Desai's novels in the late 1970s, I have been drawn to her gentle and elegant writing, her subtle humour, and her ways of bringing to life an India of the early post-colonial times, i.e. on the cusp of change into a modern society. Award winning author and three-time Booker Prize finalist, Anita Desai, was born and raised in India by her German mother and Indian father. Despite having lived outside India for decades now, she has maintained strong emotional ties to In ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
The three novellas that comprise Anita Desai’s newest collection all focus on the shutting of the windows of opportunity. In Anita Desai’s own words: “We are all in this together, this world of loss and defeat. All of us, every one of us, has had a moment when a window opened, when we caught a glimpse of the open, sunlit world beyond, but all of us, on this bus, have had that window close and remain closed.”

In the first, The Museum of Final Journeys, a minor civil servant is approached by an eld
Dec 18, 2011 Caroline rated it liked it
A slim volume containing 3 novellas about preservation and change. What value does something have over time, and how much of it should be preserved for generations to come?

In 'The Museum of Final Journeys', a new officer of the British government is sent to a backwater town for training. He is approached by an old man from the countryside who seeks his assistance in preserving a house that has turned into a museum of beautiful, strange and exotic items. The house belonged to a woman who had lon
Oct 19, 2014 Kathrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indian
Desai writes beautifully -- reading is effortless, meanings are personal and subtly piercing. The first and third novellas laid down calm and peaceful; the second one stirred me up.
We want art to last, leave an impression beyond ourselves. It is heartbreaking when we fail...
Mar 09, 2017 Kirsty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, march-2017
For some reason unbeknownst to me, I had never read Desai before picking up The Artist of Disappearance. I have no idea at all as to why this is the case. I loved her writing style; it is at once reflective and intelligent. Whilst the plot of the first story in this three novella collection did not personally appeal to me, the second was fantastic, and I was swept away. Desai is deft and versatile, and here, she presents three societally fascinating novellas, which are well worth a read. Thought ...more
Anirban Nanda
The three stunning novellas that apparently have different settings and characters, but inherently go with a singular theme, that is, the sense of alienness and the urge to hide away from the world, which make this book a memorable read. The first novella, namely, The Museum of Final Journeys shows how beauty hidden in mundane can transfix one's mind and urge him to runaway and fall hands of languid fate. In Translator Translated, we see a soul searching for meaning of her lifelong work and upon ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
The three novellas in Anita Desai’s, The Artist of Disappearance, revolve around the concept of art. While all are interesting and contain her usual lyrical writing, the strongest is the one that shares the book’s title. It stands on its own as a complete work, where the other two are made stronger by their connection to one another. One of the most compelling issues brought out by this book is the question of aesthetics. What makes something art and does it have to be accepted and seen or read ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
All three of these stories show the gulf between what life would be if it lived up to our idealistic expectations and what life really is. And life in the India portrayed in the three novellas is just not that great. The characters don't often make the brave choices they could make, or if they do, they backfire.

My favorite of the three was "Translator Translated," about the woman who translates the work of an Oriyan author into English and it doesn't go as she had hoped.

Still, I lacked much of
Dec 23, 2012 VaultOfBooks rated it it was ok
By Anita Desai. Grade B
When I got The Artist of Disappearance, I was on cloud nine. I hadn’t read anything written by her until I encountered an excerpt from some of her book in my Functional English Textbook.
I was so moved. I wanted to read more of her, and thus, The Artist of Disappearance.
In this trio of exquisitely crafted novellas, experience the soaring brilliance and delicate restraint of one of India’s great writers.
In the opening novella, The Museum of Final Journeys, a junior Civil Se
May 30, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
Years ago, I had read Anita Desai's Baumgartner's Bombay and enjoyed it immensely. Why I have waited some quarter of a century before taking on another of her works, I do not understand or condone. The Artist of Disappearance is the latest of her fictions in a long and illustrious career. It consists of three novellas entitled "The Museum of Final Journeys," "Translator Translated," and "The Artist of Disappearance."

In many ways, Desai reminds me of Joseph Conrad, whose background as a Pole and
Apr 29, 2016 John rated it really liked it
Three novellas -- two of them really longish novelettes -- told in a simple, fluent, quite poignant style.

"The Museum of Final Journeys" is a riff on the White Elephant legend, although the tale is much more than that, as the narrator is led to a remote mansion full of treasures that have no value because no one ever comes to see them; the gifts sent from abroad by a prodigal son who never came home, they've become an increasing burden on the sole remaining family servant, loyal to a family that
Nov 28, 2011 Olga rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
In just a few days this book will hit the stores and I hope that many of you will go out and buy it because it is, in a word, wonderful. The rich and elegant writing transports you into the characters' worlds and makes you feel like you're right there with them, living their lives, feeling their pain, their joy, their turmoil and their bliss. It did that for me anyway. The relatively short novellas surprised me by how much substance there was in their pages, how I had to take a break between eac ...more
مريم ماهر
Jun 29, 2014 مريم ماهر rated it really liked it
ده واحد من الكتب القليلة أوي اللي حتى لو مش عجبك لازم هتعترف بمقدرة الكاتب
الكتاب عندي ياخد ثلاث نجمات والكاتبة فوق خمس نجمات والمحصلة أربعة :D

دي تاني حد هندي أقرأ له ، وتقريبًا في نظام هندي متبع إنهم بيوصفوا تفاصيل تفاصيل التفاصيل والله أعلم

الكتابة متمرسة جدًا في النهايات ، ومش النهاية المفاجأة أو الصدمة ، إنما النهاية الفنية الهادية ومش الرخمة ولا المستفسزة ، تقدر توهمك بحاجة والنهاية حاجة تانية خالص ومش تخليك تحس إنها خدعتك ولا نقلتك بسرعة , مش أي حد بردوا يكتب نهاية ي قوم

الكتاب عبارة عن ثل
Feb 03, 2016 Zeinab rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب يحوي ثلاث روايات أجملهن فنان الاختفاء والتي حمل الكتاب اسمها. جمالها يتجاوز كلماتها ليغدو محسوسا وملموسا ومرئيا. رافي بكهفه، بقيمصه الأبيض وبنطاله الكاكي وحذائه الأسود، لكنني لم أر وجهه، فالمؤلفة لم تدقق في ملامحه. الملامح الوحيدة التي ركزت عليها كانت المترجمة مترجمة في الرواية الثانية. وهي الأقل جمالا في الكتاب كله. الرواية الأولى متحف الرحلات الأخيرة جميلة ولكنها دون فنان الاختفاء.
Sep 03, 2016 NikolayM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Det var då hon undrade om det fanns någon skillnad mellan hennes liv och kråkornas, där de flög fram och åter mellan telefontrådarna och och det vissnade trädet nere på gatan, högljutt kraxande i en blandning av vrede och klagan.'
Sep 21, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: india, artandartists
All three novellas are elegantly written and interesting but it's the third title story that is amazing. A powerful look at the deep seated and private need to make art.
Aug 16, 2012 Cameron rated it liked it
Three novellas/long short stories. Read the last one. It's wonderful.
Jun 07, 2012 Shuriu rated it it was ok
Good writing, except the endings always are powerfully deflating denouements, like excellent foreplay and build-up and then the sudden cessation of sexual activity b/c the other party loses interest completely in the act itself.

"Translator Translated"

How easy to see that these words worked, the others did not. I hurried on, hurried while that sense lasted of what was right, what was wrong, an instinct sometimes elusive which had to be courted and kept alert. Selecting, recognising, acknowledging
Chloe Kershaw
Mar 15, 2017 Chloe Kershaw rated it it was ok
Three short stories to get me back into reading this year, although I didn't really enjoy the first one, I did like the last two. The middle being my favourite; I think the idea of the second story was very good.
Shaz S
Oct 19, 2012 Shaz S rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
This is the first book I have read by Anita Desai, an author who has been on my to-read list and ashamedly unread for far too long. I am glad that I picked this book because it’s an interesting example of Desai’s masterful lyrical prose without the heaviness of philosophical musings. “The Artist of Disappearance” is a collection of three novellas linked by common threads of loss and solitude. Though the settings of place and era are unspecified, the book has a delicate aura of a young, post-colo ...more
Art Hi
Oct 31, 2016 Art Hi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book leaves you pondering that there is only a thin line between right and wrong! A very thin one. Sorry, not sorry; cross that invisible line one has to live with guilt rest of one's lives.
This set me into thinking how do we hold ourselves back in times of temptations?
Step back and take a breathe.
Even after the mistake there are still opportunities to correct or make it right.
Acknowledge the short coming, apologize.
It is ok to do mistakes, do not destroy the self for it.

The young officer
Carl R.
May 16, 2012 Carl R. rated it liked it
I don’t think I’ve ever done this before--checked out other reviews before writing my own comments on a book. Just a thing I have about testing my own insights. In the case of Artist of Disappearance, however, I made an exception because I knew that Anita Desai is an author of some renown, and whatever impression Artist was to meant to leave on the reader escaped me.

The plot, like the book itself (156 pages) is slight. A young Indian boy named Ravi is left alone with a servant in a Himalayan ma
Feb 23, 2017 Bachyboy rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving this two stars, particularly as I didn't feel like reading the third novella in the book. I loved the Indian setting but perhaps novellas are not for me.
Sep 30, 2011 Darryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The newest work by Anita Desai is a collection of three novellas set in modern India, which share the themes of art and isolation. In the first novella, 'The Museum of Final Journeys', a lonely young government official is serving a post in an isolated and decrepit town, when an elderly man implores him to help save a museum of various objects collected from a young man's journeys across the world. The family's mansion is in decay, with only a hint as to its former grandeur, but the museum itsel ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Indiabookstore rated it really liked it
The queerest thing which strikes the mind when one starts this collection of fictions by Anita Desai is perhaps the name, ‘The Artist of Disappearance’. However the novellas, through every taste of the myriad emotions they accompany, justify it in the best possible manner. In this books, Anita Desai narrates three stories, each vastly different from the other.

The opening novella,‘The Museum of Final Journeys’, moves with a protagonist who is a Civil Service officer in the initial years of his jo
b00k r3vi3ws
Jan 04, 2013 b00k r3vi3ws rated it it was amazing
The Artist of Disappearance is a collection of three very different yet very similar novellas.

The first, The Museum of Final Journeys, narrates a story of a Civil Service Officer who started his career from a post in a remote district of the country. It was perhaps not the most glamorous post that one could hope for but it certainly presented him with a rare opportunity. The second story, Translator Translated, narrates the story of a very dainty English school teacher whose life in general woul
Aug 04, 2012 Ian rated it liked it
Anita Desai is a matchless prose stylist, a master of subtlety, a connoisseur of the crystal clear sentence. Her writing seems to hearken back half a century to a time when clarity counted for more than innovation. For that reason The Artist of Disappearance, a collection of three novellas, might seem a bit old fashioned. But it is also refreshing because in these pieces she is doing nothing more profound than using flawless prose to spin a good yarn. These three novellas are remarkable for thei ...more
Apr 27, 2012 PC rated it it was amazing
Incandescent, immaculate - this is a pristine little book containing clarity of vision and purpose in such a simple clean package, much like a shard of quartz or the glittering beetle - objects that Desai also pays homage to in the final of the three novellas contained wherein.

I've noticed that writers who are further along in their careers seem to favor a stripped down sort of language, as if the challenge is to convey the same meaning of a 15-worded sentence within a more compact statement of
Nov 09, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
This is a book suffused with melancholy and occasionally full-blown sadness. I read them in the middle of what passes for summer in Scotland and so I couldn’t help but feel hot reading them but I suspect one might sense that even in winter, not that the books are heavy on descriptions but she makes them count.

Although only one character is an only out-and-out recluse all three protagonists live, at least for a time, on the fringes of society and all aspire to better things. Success comes at a pr
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Anita Desai was born in 1937. Her published works include adult novels, children's books and short stories. She is a member of the Advisory Board for English of the National Academy of Letters in Delhi and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in London. Anita Mazumdar Desai is an Indian novelist and Emeritus John E. Burchard Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technolo ...more
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