Suspend your Disbelief
“The Vanishers” has a nice twist on the paranormal craze. Julavits manages to present a fresh outlook as well as a believable plot as long as you’re willing to suspend belief and go with the premise. Mid twenties Julia Severn is attending a course in honing her psychic skills in lieu of a more traditional graduate course. She becomes fixated on her mentor, Madam Ackerman, in part because she lost own mother as a baby and still longs for her. Then things blow up at school and Julia becomes so ill she must take time away. She meets some shady (or perhaps they are merely pieces of her life puzzle) people who influence her to go to Europe in search of recovering her health but also to uncover a mysterious female director who is thought to be involved with an organization that helps people stage their own disappearances, leaving only a film for their loved ones to view stating their reasons for their suicide or disappearance. I did say you’d need to suspend belief right? I didn’t love this book but enjoyed it enough to keep turning the pages. As I’ve said it balances a tightrope walk through fairly unbelievable plot points but Julavits does a great job with the pacing of the story, in fact the pacing and the freshness of the plot were her strong points.