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The Disappeared

IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2011

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349122410

Price: £10.99

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After more than 30 years Anne Greves feels compelled to break her silence about her first lover, and a treacherous pursuit across Cambodia’s killing fields.
Once she was a motherless girl from taciturn immigrant stock. Defying fierce opposition, she falls in love with Serey, a gentle rebel and exiled musician. She’s still only 16 when he leaves her in their Montreal flat to return to Cambodia And, after a decade without word, she abandons everything to search for him in the bars of Phnom Penh, a city traumatized by the Khmer Rouge slaughter. Against all odds the lovers are reunited, and in a political country where tranquil rice paddies harbour the bones of the massacred, Anne pieces together a new life with Serey. But there are wounds that love cannot heal, and some mysteries too dangerous to know. And when Serey disappears again, Anne discovers a story she cannot bear.
Haunting, vivid, elegiac, The Disappeared is a tour de force; at once a battle cry and a piercing lamentation, for truth, for love.

Reviews

Electrifying...This is a very sensual book, written in an aroused but taut and plain prose that attaches the intensities of erotic love to the smell, sight, taste and touch of human suffering...Echlin's heroine is a risk-taker; so, on the literary level, is Echlin...The novel contains no quotation marks; the seamless prose represents a mind compulsively remembering. Serey, who is rarely named, becomes all but nameless, the vocative sounding into a void. Through such technical and stylistic virtuosity, allied with elliptical narrative brilliance, Echlin raises Anne's climactic ritual action to a level of tragic sublimity
Stevie Davies, Guardian
A daring venture...finely chiselled...genuine tension and power
Telegraph ‘[Echlin] summons the swirling passions of unfettered love, the blank panic of all-consuming grief and the devastating after-effects of holocaust (where people startle at smells – “surrogate odors of torture and dead bodies and bombs”) with unse
Exquisite . . . And like the philosopher's stone, [Echlin] creates alchemy. She permits what has been unsaid to be said, and what has been nameless to be named at last
New York Times
Despite everything written about Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia, it is still possible to be deeply shocked by the stories of two million who died in the killing fields, were tortured or simply disappeared. Canadian writer Kim Echlin has written a love stor
Independent