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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Vanishers

Heidi Julavits novels can either be sweet reads or a bit too out there. The Vanishers is her 4th novel and it is somewhat complex, even confusing. Julia Severn is a young psychic who falls under the sway of Madame Ackermann, the head of a parapsychology program at a New England institute.  Or is it final? As Julia's psychic skills emerge she and Madame Ackermann engage in a mentor-acolyte conflict that escalates and provides the tension that drives the plot. Madame Ackerman inflicts debilitating psychic attack on Julia causing her to become a sick shadow of her former self. Julia's mother committed suicide when she was just a baby and she is searching for the truth about what drove her to commit such a final act.She then meets mysterious people who offer to put her in touch with an avant garde filmmaker who disappeared in the mid-1980s and might have ties to Julia’s mother. The story is a bit perplexing and somewhat ridiculous. I despised every character and lost interest about half way through. I finished it but would not recommend The Vanishers. Read any of Julavits' other books instead.

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