Disappearing Earth is the debut novel of Julia Phillips set on the remote Kamchatka peninsula. The story revolves around two sisters who are at the edge of a bay on a summer day. The elder one wants to remain to shore while the younger wants to venture deeper. The rest of the novel takes the story further when the two sisters get kidnapped.
The writer attempts to expose the ways in which the women of Kamchatka are fragmented in every possible way by the place and the people. Julia Philips pays equal importance to the place or the region as the characters in this book. The women who appear in the story are intricately identified with their region. For example, one of the girls started on the peninsula, and married into a successful family that grew into a huge company. It is almost impossible to imagine the story without the mention of the region of Kamchatka. She has clearly and beautifully made the mention of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky from where the sisters are kidnapped, the hot springs, and the wooden cabins in the lush green town of Esso and the tiny city Palana.
Women in Disappearing Earth
Each woman in the story is the wandering representatives of ethnic and cultural conflicts. They portray the challenging life of making a balance between emotions and reality. Ksyusha is the daughter of a reindeer herder who studies at the university but is divided between her controlling boyfriend and another student met during fold dance. Another woman Zoya, the wife of a policeman, is attracted to immigrant construction workers. Marina, the mother of the missing sisters, comes across a native woman whose daughter is also disappeared in a similar style.
The connection between the women and the story combine together as the story progresses. The women live with unease as they have to live watching how their life is going to be shattered. The story is about loss and longing and is designated by some as a thriller novel as the reader wants to know what happens to the missing sisters.
Disappearing Earth- A Summary
The story is related to the vanishing of two young sisters named Alyona and Sophia Golosovskaya, which occurs in the very first chapter of the novel. The novel does not solely focus on the search of the missing girls; rather, it changes the perspective from one woman to another woman of Kamchatka. The book has many stories, and in the end, the writer returns to the original theme of the mystery of the missing girls.
The two sisters were playing at the edge of the bay while their mother was at work. The girls were offered a lift to their home by a stranger, but he actually kidnapped them. There is a witness to the incident, but she believes that her statement is not taken seriously by the investigator because she is a woman. There is another woman whose daughter disappeared three years ago, but the case was not taken up seriously. Sergei, the photographer, connects all the missing cases with the YegorGusakov. In the end, all three missing girls are shown locked in the Yegor’s house while the police are searching for the house.