The Disappeared

Paperback | February 23, 2010

byKim Echlin

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Anne Greves is a motherless Canadian girl and her lover, Serey, a gentle Cambodian rebel and exiled musician. One day he leaves their Montreal flat to seek out his family in the aftermath of Pol Pot's savage revolution. After a decade without word, Anne abandons everything to search for him in Phnom Penh, a city traumatized by the Khmer Rouge slaughter.

Against all odds, the lovers are reunited, and in a country where tranquil rice paddies harbour the bones of the massacred, these two self-exiled lovers struggle to recreate themselves in a world that rejects their hopes. But when Serey disappears again, Anne discovers that the journey she must embark upon may reveal a story she cannot bear.

Haunting, vivid, elegiac, The Disappeared is an unforgettable consideration of language, justice, and memory, at once a battle cry and a piercing lament, for truth, for love.

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I have often noted in my reviews that I love great historical fiction. The stories can cover a brief moment or grand sweep of time. It is simply that beautiful blending of truth and fiction that always seems to strike a chord. The Disappeared by Kim Echlin is one such story. The book centers on a single love story, the intense romance betwe...

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From the Publisher

Anne Greves is a motherless Canadian girl and her lover, Serey, a gentle Cambodian rebel and exiled musician. One day he leaves their Montreal flat to seek out his family in the aftermath of Pol Pot's savage revolution. After a decade without word, Anne abandons everything to search for him in Phnom Penh, a city traumatized by the Khme...

Award-winning author Kim Echlin lives in Toronto. She is the author of Elephant Winter and Dagmar’s Daughter, and her third novel, The Disappeared, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction. Her most recent novel is Under the Visible Life.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 8.22 × 5.29 × 0.69 inPublished:February 23, 2010Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143170457

ISBN - 13:9780143170457

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Editorial Reviews

"An elegiac, beautifully told memory-tale of obsessive love. ... On one level, the novel is a young Canadian woman’s bildungsroman; on another, a profoundly moving account of the genocidal horrors of the Cambodian killing fields and its terrible aftermath. Written in elegant, spare prose, The Disappeared confronts one of the most painful conflicts of our time; the collision between our private, personal desires and the brutal, dehumanizing facts of modern history.” - Jury, Scotiabank Giller Prize 2009"Echlin's masterful novel of meetings, partings and cross-cultural love...Precise expressive... Powerfully vivid...Luminous...A complex expression of annihilating loss and eternal love that is best experienced, in a sense, like the final act of a tragic play: as something inevitable and beyond the calculations of reason. " - The Globe and Mail"Echlin, one of Canada's finest prose stylists, approaches her subject with the delicacy and solemnity it deserves... A beautiful work of art . . . The Disappeared is an expert novel, which manages to penetrate to the aching core of the Cambodian tragedy.” - National Post“Like her passionate narrator, Anne Greves, Echlin is not afraid to risk everything in this aching, heart-wrenching novel of young love aligned against human atrocity...A slender book of remembering, The Disappeared is unforgettable.” - Sheri Holman, author of The Mammoth Cheese"Powerful and moving." - The Times (UK)"Electrifying... The voice is singular and arresting. . . . This is a very sensual book, written in an aroused but taut and plain prose...Echlin's heroine is a risk-taker; so, on the literary level, is Echlin...Through [her] technical and stylistic virtuosity, allied with elliptical narrative brilliance, Echlin raises Anne's climactic ritual action to a level of tragic sublimity." - The Guardian (UK)“The beautifully spare narrative is daringly imaginative in the details. . . . Echlin creates a sorrowfully compelling world . . . [in this] powerful, transcendent love story.” - Publishers Weekly“The familiar tale of star-crossed lovers is revisited with gripping immediacy and compelling freshness in Kim Echlin’s The Disappeared. Writing with sensuality, yearning, and in a voice readers will not soon forget, Ms. Echlin reminds us of the potency of our first loves, and of their enduring ability to shape and haunt us.” - Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken For You and Sing Them Home"A beautiful elegy...Anne Greaves' story unfolds slowly, in spare and moving prose through fleeting moments and in floods of memory." - Winnipeg Free Press“A dance of words . . . [full of] beauty, grace, sensuality and power. . . . In what is a seemingly impossible feat, the form is carved perfectly to the task—the book balances on the beauty. . . . Echlin is able, by imagination and art, to take the reader on a journey...that travels into utter darkness but does not leave us in despair. . . . Echlin has wrought a work of singular beauty, a work which turns ‘human cruelty’ into the image of a particle of dust by a lover’s cheek, into the rhythm of the sentences that carry knowledge of the world so all may witness.” - The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)"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... Echlin has written a love story that exposes in terrible detail the consequences for generations of Cambodians living through 'Year Zero'...An ambitious novel.” - The Independent (UK)"Written with singular elegance, a polished, poetic, deeply affecting novel from a writer in impressive control of her craft." - The London Free Press“Daring... Finely chiseled prose . . . Undeniably beautiful . . . [With] moments of genuine tension and power.” - The Telegraph (UK)"A poignant love story and a memorable journey through a nation’s troubled past... Of all the tensions Echlin successfully negotiates in her novel — loss and recovery, betrayal and forgiveness, Eastern atrocity and Western indifference — the intersection of memory and language is the most nuanced.... Direct and devastating. She finds small acts of grace and dignity amid the suffering, and in this novel, it is these quiet gestures that speak the loudest. " - The Walrus"[Echlin] renders the numerous Cambodians...with a vividness and urgency...The real story of The Disappeared is the author's longing to bear witness to buried lives...Echlin succeeds, bringing to her work...the 'infinite attentiveness that is love'" - The Gazette (Montreal)“The impossibility of closure after great crimes, no matter how many tribunals and truth-and-reconciliation commissions we may launch, is the subject of Kim Echlin’s absorbing new novel... The Disappeared takes its place with such other chronicles of female desire as Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept or Pauline Reage’s The Story of O, here yoked to a history that makes it both larger and more keen" - Times-Colonist (Victoria, BC)"A beautiful work of art. . . The Disappeared presents desire as an antidote to despair.” - Ottawa Citizen"Remarkable...Radiant...Echlin manages to juxtapose the horrific depravity of the Pol Pot era and its brutal successor against the power and resilience of individual human courage." - The Calgary Sun"Echlin's pristine prose–there's a poet in there somewhere—evokes the pull of eros as Anne searches for the man she loves in one of the world's most dangerous places. But Echlin is equally skilled at portraying the effects of trauma on the human spirit...The Disappeared does go to poetic lengths to come to grips with events too terrible to contemplate calmly." - NOW Magazine (Toronto, ON)"Terrific...Well-crafted and moving...With her spare¿and unsparing ¿ prose, Echlin does a stellar job of communicating the enormity of the Cambodian genocide through the prism of the personal." - Edmonton Journal"[A] moving enigmatic story." - More (Toronto, ON)"[Echlin] summons the swirling passions of unfettered love, the blank panic of all-consuming grief and the devastating after-effects of holocaust ...with unsettling precision, making this novel a painfully emotional journey." - Metro (UK)"Echlin has a vivid style all her own...Spare...Poetical...It's a story which will live long in the memory, as much for the way Echlin writes as for the subject matter." - Newham Recorder (UK)