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Disappearing Earth

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  16,814 ratings  ·  2,582 reviews
Beautifully written, thought-provoking, intense and cleverly wrought, this is the most extraordinary first novel from a mesmerising new talent.

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the north-eastern edge of Russia, two sisters are abducted. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Knopf
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Karis Madison
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Julia Phillips That is super, super kind to say thank you. Both research and personal experience went into this book: I studied Russian for a long time and lived…moreThat is super, super kind to say – thank you. Both research and personal experience went into this book: I studied Russian for a long time and lived for about two years in Russia.(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  16,814 ratings  ·  2,582 reviews

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Chaima ✨ شيماء
The correct response to the ending of this book is a violently whispered, fuck.

Reading the last couple chapters, it felt like my heart sprang into my throat and seemed to hang there, hammering. Five thousand sentences sprinted through my mind and none of them got to the finish tape. It was as though the blanket of shock that had muted the events of this book was suddenly thrown off, and flooding my senses, was a seethe of feelings: dread, fear, hope, relief, each entangled in the roots of the
Emily May
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: karen
What answers could Alla Innokentevna have for her? Marina might ask what it was like to see your child turn thirteen, or fifteen, or graduate from high school. How it felt to know, and not just suspect, that if you had been a better parent, more attentive, more responsible, then your baby would not be gone today. How to go on.

Disappearing Earth is quite an extraordinary novel. There is a missing persons mystery at the centre of the book, but no one should go into this expecting a typical
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST MYSTERY/THRILLER 2019! what will happen?

this is one of those rare perfect books. the fact that its a debut only makes it more impressive, and no matter what this author writes next, i will be on it immediately.

i was fortunate enough to stumble upon a free arc of this, thinking-to-self, this looks like it could be good, and then when i saw all the high praise it was receiving in its early reviews, i decided to bump it up the old arc-stack and
Chelsea Humphrey
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Emily May
"One hand came up to press on her sternum. Her heart hurt. If Marina could peel off her left breast, crack back her ribs, and grip that muscular organ to settle it, she would. She started having these attacks last August, after her daughters had disappeared. A doctor gave her tablets to relieve the anxiety. Those did not help. No prescription brought her children home."

Wow. It's been a hot minute since a debut novel created such a deep well of emotion in me, so much so that I am shocked that
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The premise of Disappearing Earth was the immediate reason behind choosing this novel. The Kamchatka Peninsula is I guess 10 time zones away from where I live, and has always been mysterious and unreachable to me. The landscape and its diversity regarding the population are the main themes of the novel. The abduction of two girls is only the pretext for portraying modern inhabitants, their dreams and failures.
The first chapter tells the story of the kidnapping but if you want to read a thriller
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kamchatka. My only knowledge of Kamchatka was that it is the name of cheap vodka my friends and I drank during our salad days. We re-named it coming atcha when we became employed and could afford premium vodka. Actually, the Kamchatka peninsula is located in the far east of Russia and is isolated by water and mountains. Kamchatka is a land of extremes from tundra to volcanoes to verdant forests and the descriptions of the peninsula are jaw dropping. I'm not sure of the reason but I was startled ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
Two sisters ages eight and eleven go missing on the Kamchatka peninsula. Boy did I want to yell at my book "No, no, no, no, no!" during the first story. UGH! The police are quickly called to investigate but find nothing - no clues, no evidence, etc. They are missing without a trace.

This book spans the course of a year with each chapter being another month after the girls go missing. Each chapter is also about a new character. The characters have had their lives changed in some way due to the
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes going into Disappearing Earth as I had heard so many great things about it. But it pretty much disappointed me from beginning to end. I think this is a case of mismatched expectations and experiences. Everything that others loved about this book are all the same reasons I don't.

The premise of this book is interesting enough: two young girls disappear from a Russian town, which sends the the townspeople reeling over the next few months as the investigation turns up nothing.
Elyse  Walters
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This could never have taken place in Soviet times,
Valentina Nikolaevna said.
You girls cant imagine how safe it use to be. No foreigners. No outsiders. Opening the peninsula was the biggest mistake our authorities ever made.
Now were overrun with tourists, migraines. Natives. These criminals.
Olya should have kept her tongue behind her teeth. But she asked, Werent the natives always here.
They use to stay in the villages where they belong.

Two sisters were last seen -kidnapped- in
Diane S ☔
DnF at 40% Wanted to like this but I'm just not connecting with the story. Two you g girls go missing. Each succeeding chapter covers a month since they are gone. Each chapter also introduces new characters, whose life has been marginally impacted by this tragedy. The problem is not only that I was bored, which I was, but that I wasn't taken by any of these characters, just didn't care about them.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, library-book, 2019
4.5 Stars

The sameness of each day, each year, acted like the endless reopening of a cut, scarring those summers into her memory.

Set in Russias Kamchatka Peninsula, home to the largest active volcano in the northern hemisphere, a practically untouched location by man that is home to an abundance of wildlife. Reindeer, brown bears, wolverines, sables, Siberian bighorn sheep, it is also home to the majority of the worlds population of Stellers sea eagles. A pristine paradise for those who love


Disappearing Earth in many respects, at least on the surface, reminded me Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13. Both novels start almost the same way, only in Julia Phillips' book two girls, sisters Alyona and Sofia, went missing. And at both titles initial situation is merely a ground for subsequent events. Both authors focused not on the mysterious disappearing, though we never lose it from sight, but took this as an opportunity to weave stories of place and people. In my estimation McGregor is
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The reason I added this book to my TBR list is because I love the cover. After cataloging it for my library, I left it sitting on my desk for a couple of hours just to admire the cover when my eyes needed a break from the computer. The colours are exquisite! I had to read the book, just because I fell in love with the cover. Thankfully I didn't waste my time on a book I hated. It paid to judge this book by its cover!

Set on a remote peninsula in Russia, the book opens with a chapter on two young
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
High concept, low return on reading investment.

I was eagerly anticipating this novel, placed it on our book club's roster, but what I found was a series of short stories very loosely connected to the disappearance of two little girls. I didnt go into this believing it would be a thriller, on the contrary, I was hoping for something akin to Strouts Anything is Possible where the interconnected stories built a complete picture. What I found instead were vignettes of lives orbiting the main event.

May 19, 2019 marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2019
I do wish people would read contemporary Russian literature instead of this Russia fanfic which doesnt evoke Russia in any way. May I suggest Ludmila Petrushevskaya for example? Imagine if I tried to write a book about American soul after leaving in the USA for 2 years?

P.S. Herring again? Goodness, why?
Julie Christine
In Russia's Far East, the Kamchatka Peninsula knifes between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. It is a 1250km-long blade serrated by volcanic mountains, honed razor-sharp by unrelenting cold, empty tundras, bears, wolves, and a history of violent encounters between Kamchatka's indigenous people and mainland white Russians eager to plunder its vast natural resources.

Julia Phillips chooses this perilous landscape as the setting for her mesmerizing, fierce debut, Disappearing Earth. The
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
This book wasnt what I expected it to be. It had a gripping storyline that related to the kidnapping of two young girls in Russia. It was more like reading several short stories tied together by the kidnapping. Overall it was an interesting book but I wasnt really Blown away by it. It left me wanting more. ...more
Donna Backshall
What an odd feeling, to have such a subdued book impact me in such a powerful way. There's still so much I don't understand, yet I feel like I just lived an emotionally exhausting week among the struggling yet strong Russian women of this novel.

Perhaps I'm so overwhelmed because the main character of Disappearing Earth was not a person, but rather an entire place and culture.

Kamchatka is a remote peninsula in the Russian Far East, about the size of California and not far from Alaska. I suggest
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Disappearing Earth transported me to a world that I barely knew existed, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The setting, like the painting on the cover, is vivid and memorable. The book is a series of snapshots of women loosely linked by geography, one for each month of the year after the disappearance of two young girls. I loved learning about life in Petropavlovsk and the Peninsula and flipped back and forth to the map constantly.

The blurb on my book calls it propulsive and suspenseful which
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Disappearing Earth" is an exquisitely beautiful and deeply haunting novel: a tale of two girls' abduction that is actually less about them or even the search for them than it is about the world from which they have vanished. And what a world it is: the Kamchatka peninsula in post-Soviet Russia. Julia Phillips is a terrific writer, with sentences that are lean and precise, and a soul that seems rich with empathy.
Holly  B

Putting to the side for now.

Huge cast of characters in each new chapter. I'm having a time focusing and getting easily distracted. May just be the timing for me. Just not wanting to pick it up, so will give it a pause.
Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my high expectations. Based on many favorable reviews, I was expecting a memorable reading experience, when in fact it has failed to move me and I could not connect with any of the characters. My biggest issue was the 30+ cast of characters. This type of books annoy me in general - I had a similar issue with Paula Hawkins's "Into the water" and Khaled Hosseini's "An the mountains echoed". But in this specific book, it was not enough to have that many ...more
Megan Collins
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In a single word, this book was extraordinary. Ive never read a novel with this structure before; the chapters read like beautiful short stories, each with their own climaxes, each with their own casts of characters. But threaded between them all is the ongoing case of two missing sisters, and we see how these characters lives are impacted by or resonate with the girls disappearance. I was also blown away by the ending, which will maybe go down as one of my favorite endings of all time. It was ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This was an excellent novel about Kamchatka, an area in Siberia which many of us only know as a coveted piece of land in the game Risk. Julia Phillips takes us to the heart of a kidnapping of two young girls on this isolated peninsula and describes the aftermath in the various communities during the year afterwards. Filled will interesting characters, cultural tidbits (the author has apparently spent lots of time there on Fulbright grants and the like), and the writing is quite good. I truly ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Two young girls go missing and the sorrow and sense of loss touch so many in a bleak and remote part of the world. Beautifully written- full review and author Q & A to come at
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disappearing Earth begins with a shot of adrenaline and ends with a gut punch. In between, it is filled with a forward propulsion of female characters who are intricately affected by the opening narrative: two young sisters who are kidnapped in broad daylight from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east section of Russia.

To get a sense of what youre in for, imagine if Jon McGregors Reservoir 13 was intermingled with Elizabeths Strouts Olive Kitteridge. In the first book, a girl goes missing; as
Erin Glover
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
Similar to how everyone is related in the movie Crash, all the characters are related in this mystery about the disappearance of two little girls across the world in a remote region of Russia.

Phillips introduces us to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the last bit of land before sea. The district is part of the Kamchatka Peninsula, bordered by ocean on three sides and a vast impassable tundra to the north. A witness purports to see Alyona, 11, and her eight-year-old sister Sophia with a man near a
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I read the jacket copy for this book, I assumed it was a who done it, as the description talked about an ongoing police investigation. I dont generally gravitate toward missing persons/abduction-type stories; but this is where I think the jacket copy is misleading.

The jumping-off point for this book is the disappearance of two girls and its impact on the community. And as the book description states, the novel focuses on the intimate lives of a cast of richly drawn, interconnected

Rating: 3.0/5.0

National Book Award Nominee for Fiction (2019)

Mystery Thriller + Cultural

Two sisters get abducted in the shoreline of the north-eastern edge of Russia. Their disappearance affects the community and the different individuals who live there. Each chapter represents one month, starting in August and ending with July the next year. And every chapter we follow new characters and their stories.

- I liked a lot the atmosphere and the setting of Russia and the way the
I keep rewriting my review for this book. I cannot get it right. I don't think I ever will, so I will stop trying.
I will just say this: Two little girls disappear without a trace one day in Kamchatka, a Russian peninsula near Alaska. The police mount a search, but after months with no clues, they are forced to give up.

Julia Phillips paints what has to be a bleak, unforgiving area of the world and gives it light, music, color and life.
Her characters fit. They belong. They are part of what
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