Angela's Reviews > The Vanishers

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
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's review
Sep 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: indiespensable, magical-realism, fiction
Recommended to Angela by: Indiespensable

Ah, this book! It’s so weirdly awesome.

It’s not due to be published until next year, but a bound galley was included in the same Indiespensable as The Night Circus because the good people at Powell’s thought they complimented each other. And they do, in a strange way. It’s similarly fresh and draws you into this world that overlaps with our own where psychics go to elite schools in New England and carry out mental attacks on each other.

I was immediately won over by the reference to Vito Acconci’s Seedbed. Then there was the French snuf pornos and ridiculously elaborate private spas in Switzerland.

I think the perfectly monikered Madame Ackermann and her Barcelona chairs was my favorite part. I loved this bit in particular:

And thus we tried, as girls in confused love with women will do, in every superficial way to mimic her. We were rapt apprentices of the twisted cowl neck, the peevish cuticle nibble, the messy, pencil-stabbed chignon. We purchased cardigans in yellowed greens and tarry mascaras, we blended our own teas and sewed them into muslin bags that we steeped in chunky mugs and carried with us to class, our socked feet sliding, like hers, atop the wooden platforms of our Dr. Scholl’s sandals. We also slept around. We slept with everyone, but only once. We were, we told ourselves in moments when we felt most pathetic and unmoored, not just imitating Madame Ackermann, we were embracing the culture of the Workshop-the disloyalty, the distrust, the refusal to be known for fear of what people might actually come to know about you.

It was a lonely time.

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Reading Progress

September 23, 2011 – Shelved
September 23, 2011 – Shelved as: indiespensable
November 9, 2011 – Started Reading
November 14, 2011 –
page 78
27.46%
November 14, 2011 –
page 95
33.45%
November 16, 2011 –
page 115
40.49%
November 17, 2011 –
page 150
52.82%
November 21, 2011 –
page 200
70.42%
November 22, 2011 –
page 220
77.46%
November 23, 2011 – Finished Reading
June 14, 2014 – Shelved as: magical-realism
October 7, 2016 – Shelved as: fiction

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