24 June 2010

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden (#28)

I received this as an advanced reading book, and even though it took me a while to get around to reading it - my dissertation proposal draft was handed in last week and my TBR list keeps growing - I thoroughly enjoyed Helen Grant's first novel.

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, once you get past the really wordy title, is somewhat mystery, somewhat realistic, somewhat portrait of what life can be like in a small town - in this case, in Germany at the end of the twentieth century. I don't want to give too much away, because I thought it was an easy read, enjoyable book, at times mystery and at times psychological. My one complaint was that I wasn't completely pleased with the very ending of the book - I liked the way that the story tied up but wasn't thrilled with the complete aftermath - I don't think it was technically an epilogue but that part of the book that was most epilogue-ish.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the use of German words - they aren't glossed in the text, though they can both usually be determined from the context and there is a glossary presented at the end of the novel. I appreciate Grant's decision, and I also think that she assumes the reader will take the time to look up the words in the glossary.  I don't always think to look up the words, because it stops the flow of the reading and breaks my concentration. But it gave a sense of authenticity to the book, since it's set in Germany and, for some readers, it can be difficult to remember that when reading in English.  

I would recommend the book without hesitation; it comes out in August. 

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