Sep 22, 2008

The Disapparation of James

by Anne Ursu

A family takes their two young children to the circus. Their usually shy, withdrawn little boy volunteers to be part of the clown's final magic trick. At first his parents are pleased with James' participation- then shocked, angered and dismayed when he actually disappears from the stage. The Disapparation of James then examines all the emotional turmoil following the incident- ranging from sorrow and rage to disbelief and denial. It not only covers the reactions of parents and sister, but delves into responses by the police, media, neighbors, even the clown himself. Interesting, but the brief chapters covered so many characters it was hard in the end to really care about any of them. The most intriguing one was the little girl, who seemed more determined than her parents to solve the mystery of James' disappearance. Being a parent myself, the book certainly did touch a chord: what would I do if my child suddenly vanished in a public place? how would I feel, how would I deal with it? how would I find her again? But as a reader, the lack of a final explanation for what happened to James left me feeling frustrated, and as a whole it was rather disappointing.

Rating: 2/5                     288 pages, 2003

5 comments:

Bookfool said...

Oh, hmm. Sounds like a skipster. I like resolution and I want to really care about the characters in a book. Thanks for the review!

Leah said...

When I first started your review I thought 'I'd love this book', but I am glad I read on because there is nothing worse than a book that passes you by without allowing you to connect. I will give it a miss. Thanks for yor review.

verbivore said...

Talk about funny coincidences, I was browsing in my copy of More Book Lust this morning and this book was listed as a good discussion book for book groups (precisely because of the ambiguous ending) I wrote down the title and then saw you had just reviewed it!

Sam Houston said...

It doesn't sound like this is a plot that needed an ambiguously open ending. It sounded great until you mentioned the problem with the ending, so thanks for saving me a frustrating reading experience.

Jeane said...

I suppose its true this book would make good discussion; you could debate endlessly over what happened! I don't think it would mitigate my frustration at not really knowing, though.