How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

How Quickly She Disappears

Raymond Fleischmann

Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister who disappeared years ago.

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The Dry meets The Silence of the Lambs in this intoxicating tale of literary suspense, set in the relentless Alaskan landscape, about madness and obsession, loneliness and grief, and the ferocious bonds of family....

My proposition is very simple: I am going to ask you for three gifts, and for each gift you deliver, I will take you one step closer to Jacqueline.

It's been twenty years since Elisabeth watched her twin sister, Jacqueline, disappear without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She's in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister.

Elisabeth's loneliness—and guilt—grows more unbearable each day. But through it all, she clings to the impossible belief that her sister is still alive and that they'll be reunited.

But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth's sister, but he'll reveal this truth only if Elisabeth fulfills three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister's voice saying, Come and get me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger.


Advance Galley Reviews

Reading the synopsis I thought it sounded like a great page turner but I had a hard time getting into this one - not my favorite. Thanks for the opportunity First to Read

Sometimes Elizabeth felt "...completely alone, the last person on a desolate earth." Even after twenty years, Elizabeth aka Else still "felt in her bones" that her identical twin sister Jacqueline was alive. Jacqueline had disappeared from their hometown of Lititz, Pennsylvania in 1921. Else constantly dreamed of Jacqueline. "Come and get me, her sister seemed to say. Just keep running." In 1941, Elizabeth and John Pfautz lived in Tanacross, Alaska with young daughter, Margaret. Tanacross, population 85, was approximately 200 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska. John worked for the Office of Indian Affairs and the Pfautz family lived in a government owned house without running water or plumbing. Half of the house boasted a school, half was dedicated to living space and included a guest room for use by visiting government employees. With no paved roads, mail, groceries, medical supplies and books were delivered weekly by Walter Glaser, bush plane pilot. Substituting for Walter, or so he said, Alfred Seidel explained that he was exhausted from flying both his delivery route as well as Walters. Would he be able to spend the night in the guest room? John was away on a business trip. Else and Margaret were home alone. Despite her discomfort, Else agreed. Alfred told Else that they were countrymen. He felt they were allies because he was from Munich and Else's parents were German-Americans. War seemed on the horizon. While being questioned by the police for a violent act, Alfred additionally implicated himself in the 1921 disappearance of Jacqueline Metzger. Alfred claimed, "...I was involved in her disappearance...I know things about Jacqueline." Did Alfred know who took her or did he kidnap her himself? If Else agreed to fulfill three requests, he would give her three gifts he claimed would help her find her twin sister. The cat and mouse game was dangerous. How far was Else willing to leap to find a connection to Jacqueline? How could she trust this disturbing individual? "How Quickly She Disappears" by Raymond Fleischmann is a taut, suspenseful debut novel. The tension builds to a surprising conclusion. This reader was satisfied, others might feel it begs for a sequel. Judge for yourself! A totally engrossing read! Thank you First to Read Program and Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read and review "How Quickly She Disappears".

Historical fiction set in Alaska featuring Elisabeth a woman stricken with guilt from the disappearance of her twin sister years ago. An intriguing and frustrating foray into her past that leads her to an ill-advised investigation to find her sister even to the point of destroying her family. Her behavior is questionable and hard to read, but lends to the narrative of what would you do and how far would you go to resolve a haunting loss. Would definitely recommend.

Penguin’s First to Read program is shutting down and HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS by Raymond Flemischmann seemed like the most interesting, though I could have chosen all of the books for all the points I accumulated. I wouldn’t have chosen HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS if I had read closer to see this was historical fiction. I especially wouldn’t have chosen this novel if I knew the ending was incomplete and a set up for a sequel. HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS may be a case of it’s not you, it’s me, because other people enjoyed it more than me. I found the plot slow and the characters didn’t engage me.

 


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