Sunday, June 02, 2019

What is Julia Phillips reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Julia Phillips, author of Disappearing Earth: A novel.

Her entry begins:
I just finished reading Miriam Toews's slim, spectacular new novel, Women Talking. The book gives us the minutes of a meeting between eight women in an isolated Mennonite community. The women are discussing how to respond to a epidemic of sexual assaults; for years, when they complained after waking of pain or terrible visions suffered during the night, they were told that demons must have been visiting their households to punish them for their sins. It's only recently been revealed that their nighttime attackers were some of the men in the colony, who were filling the women's rooms with anesthetic gas while they slept and raping them while they were unconscious.

The horrifying crimes in this book are based off a real-life...[read on]
About Disappearing Earth, from the publisher:
Spellbinding, moving–evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world–this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer.

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls–sisters, eight and eleven–go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.

Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty–densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska–and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused.

In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer’s virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.
Visit Julia Phillips's website.

Writers Read: Julia Phillips.

--Marshal Zeringue