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The Disappeared Paperback – Feb 23 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada (Feb. 23 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143170457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143170457
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Reader on Dec 10 2009
Format: Hardcover
"The Disappeared" is a different kind of book than what I would normally select for myself. Now that I am finished reading the story, I'm uncertain if I'm pleased or disappointed for stepping out of my comfort zone. Set during the Cambodian genocide in the 1970's, "The Disappeared" follows the lives of two lovers-- Anne, a Canadian, and Serey, a Cambodian student.

There are a few things that I found off-putting about the novel. First of all, the author writes in a series of first person recollections. I found the flow of thoughts to read in a disjointed and sometimes incoherent manner. I think this writing mechanism was supposed to represent the fragmentation of memories (and it did), but it also seemed melodramatic. Second of all, some phrases and conversations occured partially in untranslated French, and because of this I felt like I might be missing details in the story. But really, what bothered me the most was the portrayal of Anne and Serey's "love." I found myself wondering if what they had together could truly be defined as love. There was never a sense of the characters drawing strength or courage from each other. It seemed like their "love" made them secretive, anguished, reckless and even a bit self destructive. That is certainly not the kind of love that I aspire to.

Regardless, "The Disappeared" is a lovely story of survival, loss, sorrow and friendship. It paints a stark and honest picture of Cambodia and the struggles of its people. The secondary characters are intriguing and in many cases, more interesting than the primary characters. I thought "The Disappeared" was a good book, and a worthwhile read. However, if there is another book you are considering reading (and can't decide), I'd go with the other title first!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Kelley on April 23 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kim Echlin's "Disappeared" sticks with you like an echo long after you have turned the last page. The author is a fine word-smith who can turn a phrase into such beauty that you have to pause just to let it soak in. Similarly, with the description of the horror and unspeakable depravity of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Banality at its worst and Kim manages to write about with the dispassion and objectivity of a news reporter. It's a clever technique because the horror just sneaks up before it hammers on you.

Kim's protagonist, Anne Greves, reflects from a distance of thirty years but her poignant love story is recounted with an ache that is as raw as the day her Serey became separated from her. The anguish, longing and endless love serves as a stark counterpoint to the circumstances in which it germinated. Like Gil Courtemanche's "Sunday By the Pool in Kigali", Kim's story imbues the indefatigable power of the human spirit trumping the depravities of mankind simply because it survives them.

Kim Echlin is a gifted writer who has given a wonderful novel of new first love, it's blossom and demise crafted with exquisite language and phrase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 16 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a beautiful story of the power of love, the grief and indecency of loss, and the strength and potency of the human spirit to keep going amid dangerous and perilous conditions.

Anne Greves is a sixteen-year-old living in Montreal, Canada when she meets Serey, a Cambodian who is 5 years older than she is and a musician. Immediately they begin a passionate, sexual relationship. One day Serey decides to return to Cambodia to find his family whom he hasn't heard from in over a year. A daring decision on Serey's part as Cambodia was suffering in the aftermath of Pol Pot's savage revolution.

Ten years pass by and Anne has never heard from Serey and decides to go to Cambodia herself to find him. Unbelievably, Anne finds him and their reunion is as passionate as it was ten years ago.

Anne stays in Cambodia with Serey, becomes pregnant with his child and is excited and anxious waiting for the birth of their child. One day Anne is overcome with fever and rashes and is admitted to a local hospital. The doctor examines her and finds out she has dengue fever. What about their baby?

Suddenly Serey disappears and Anne hires a taxi driver she has come to know, Mau, to drive her to another city named Ang Tasom where she suspects Serey to be. What does Anne discover?

A haunting novel that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.
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