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The Artist of Disappearance: A Novella

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  870 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
A documentary film crew, looking to expose the ecological havoc of illegal mining and logging, instead stumbles upon an artistic creation of unspeakable beauty, hidden from the world by its creator, a local recluse.
ebook, 61 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 2011)
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Sawsan
Jan 31, 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
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
Jill
Nov 06, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Caroline
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
...more
Kathrina
Oct 22, 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...
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
Beth
Dec 27, 2011 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim
May 31, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
مريم ماهر
Jun 30, 2014 مريم ماهر rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Olga
Dec 03, 2011 Olga rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
VaultOfBooks
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
...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
...more
Jim
Nov 09, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Anita
Jan 17, 2015 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These novellas were beautifully written, and each is unique. While they are all set in modern India, they are quite distinct from each other.

Museum of Final Journeys: Given how little happens in this story, it is impressive how much suspense is built up throughout. The ending is surprising in a couple of ways. The outlandish premise makes the result (how the narrator reacts) feel all the more real and true to life. Four stars.

Translator, Translated: The main character isn't particularly likable
...more
Claire
Jul 10, 2015 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The three novellae stirred different reactions.

The Museum of Final Journeys: I liked this tale the most, even if I'm somewhat more familiar with translation, so it was a strong opener to the collection.
Essentially, this story made me consider what a museum was and wonder why I went to so few.
So I will focus primarily on it. Ee, assembling things from all around the world! I am very fond of this.

Translator Translated: This story more made me remember how extremely frustrating I had found trying
...more
David
Mar 31, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, indian
Though I wouldn't call myself a fan of Anita Desai's work especially, I have read (and enjoyed) a few of her novels and short stories over the years. She seems to be a writer who excels at both forms, but the three pieces that make up 'The Artist of Disappearance', each being somewhere between long short story and novella in length, hover unsatisfactorily between the two. The first two pieces feel like they would have made better short stories and instead drag on too long only to reward the read ...more
Meghana
Aug 04, 2014 Meghana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of Anita Desai's prose ever since I encountered her novels- first, Village By The Sea and especially her haunting Clear Light Of Day.

Desai has a knack for making you see the world around you differently, for drawing you deep into the melancholy, wistful nostalgia of her tales. The Artist Of Disappearance is a collection of three novellas that encompass Desai's unpretentious, beguiling literature- you find yourself drowning in the understated, everyday lives of her sublime charact
...more
Lauren
Oct 11, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Cameron
Three novellas/long short stories. Read the last one. It's wonderful.
b00k r3vi3ws
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
...more
George
May 09, 2012 George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Three novellas, all set in India, written by a Booker-shortlisted writer. Needless to say, I was excited to read this. "The Museum of Final Journeys" is about a government official who visits an old mansion that is home to a collection of treasures shipped home by its traveling heir. "Translator, Translated" is about a teacher whose decision to study her mother's local language at last pays off when a publisher agrees to her proposal to translate one of the area's writers into English. The title ...more
Frances Brody
Oct 12, 2012 Frances Brody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These three captivating novellas are delight to read and a sensuous evocation of India. In The Museum of Final Journeys, a junior government officer begins his career in remote and inhospitable outpost. An elderly servant implores the officer to visit the Mukherjee family estate. His mistress, the last remaining family member, has long departed. The house, now a decaying museum, contains a fabulous collection of objects gathered from across the globe. One surprising final treasure is consuming t ...more
Darryl
Oct 02, 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
Lucinda
Apr 22, 2012 Lucinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book consists of three stories told with Desai's characteristic sensitive grace that revolve around the theme of the private/public nature of art. Desai's exploration of these themes is fascinating and probing - you will find yourself mulling over the kinds of questions that they subtly ask long after you have put down the book.

Does art become more meaningful to us when it is shared? Is not sharing something beautiful a form of loss? or is the sharing itself a kind of loss? What about when
...more
Blue
Aug 14, 2013 Blue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Once in a while comes a work that I cannot explain why, but just does not captivate me. It is not that I did not like Desai's writing. In fact, she is a very good, at times amazing writer with words that leave a taste in your mouth. It is not that I need an action-packed plot; I am perfectly fascinated by the every-day lives of normal people where everything happens and nothing much takes place. Perhaps it was that I didn't feel the main characters or narrators, I didn't feel their pain, their f ...more
Will Tate
First of all a question of definitions - I would classify this as a collection of short stories not novellas ( if the book, at 156pp, had been just one story, that would rate as a novella, in my opinion). The distinction is relevant because short stories are read (and written)in a different way to novels. All pieces of writing have their own length - "Bleak House" is not a better book than "The Great Gatsby" because it is 10 times longer! Two of the three tales in Anita Desai's beautifully craft ...more
Shuriu
Jul 02, 2012 Shuriu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Indiabookstore
Jan 09, 2013 Indiabookstore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
PC
May 04, 2012 PC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Dan Gobble
Jan 07, 2015 Dan Gobble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Vanishing lands, vanishing pasts, vanishing culture, vanishing languages, and an uncertainty of the meaning of those things being left behind, mixed with air of melancholy surrounding an emerging future. One story explores our obsession with collections of curious objects and what to do with these trinkets which have been long disconnected from their locations and pasts. This materialistic impulse drives us to put together museums of stuff, one thing being added after the other. Why this collect ...more
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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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