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The Disappeared

Kim Echlin

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Literary fiction of the highest order, this is an unforgettable novel set against the backdrop of Cambodia's savage killing fields.

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.

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Praise for The Disappeared

  • 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

  • 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 story that exposes in terrible detail the consequences for generations of Cambodians living through Year Zero ...This is an ambitious novel - Independent

  • 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

  • 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 unsettling precision, making this novel a painfully emotional journey - Metro

  • This is a novel that will stay with you long after you have read it. Echlin's story about a woman searching for, and finding lost love, only to lose it again, is moving and thought provoking. This is also a testament to the atrocities that took place in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, atrocities that must not be forgotten and a reason why novels such as this should be read' -

  • Passionate...a heart-wrenching novel of young love aligned against human atrocity. A slender book of remembering, The Disappeared is unforgettable - Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger and The Mammoth Cheese

  • Echlin's masterful novel of meetings, partings and cross-cultural love...Precise and expressive...A powerfully vivid narrative...extreme beauty...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 - Globe and Mail, Canada

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Kim Echlin

After completing a doctoral thesis on Ojibway storytelling, Kim Echlin travelled in search of stories through the Marshall Islands, China, France and Zimbabwe. On her return to Canada she became an arts documentary producer with The Journal on CBC television, and a writer for various publications.

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