Elizabeth's Reviews > The Vanishers

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
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's review
Apr 01, 2012

it was amazing

Having recently lost my mother, this story, which uses psychic ability as a metaphor for the need we have to process the idea of Death, was very appealing. I also loved the concept that we can be literally toxic to one another--that the act of living itself can be a sort of "psychic attack" on those we love. Sometimes Ms. Julavits reminds me of Nabokov--the names that sound like anagrams, the connections between books, the need for memory to "speak"--and that's one of the highest compliments I can give her.

While I had some issues with the author's previous book, this one fulfilled all of its promise for me. While Ms. Julavits is still working with the concepts of memory and truth, in this one she left me enough "clues" to figure out--at least to my satisfaction--what was "really going on." Of course I think the author would argue there is no such thing--but for a reader, some sort of closure is necessary...I think...on the other hand, I'm still thinking about THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT, so perhaps closure is as dated as the manufactured "repressed memories" those shrinks in the '80's gave to their patients?

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