Author : Heidi Julavits ISBN : 0385523815 Publisher : Doubleday

Summary:
The Vanishers: A Novel is on the life of Julia Severn, is marred by the loss of her mother at a very nascent age, and how the memories get back to haunt her as she grows into a student who is learning the psychic science from a prolific and prestigious school. As Julia begins to fathom the techniques of the science that comes very naturally to her, and she unconsciously discomposes the confidence of her mentor through her skills and more so because of her mentor's jealousy, the celebrated professor Madame Ackermann. Ackermann decides to withhold the passing on of all her knowledge and experience to the promising youngster Julia who intimidates her with her potential. The jealous professor instead, chooses to harm Julia through the discharging of a psychical attack on her, the attack leaves Julia's abilities limping and threatens her very ability to do what she does best.

After the attack Julia finds herself retreated to a hapless job in Manhattan with walls of oblivion closing in on her. But Julia is increasing her conscious awareness through the practice and exercise of her abilities. Her skills do get recognized and there are takers for her psychic abilities outside the elitist institution. She is commissioned to look for an artist who has been setting the strings of controversies loose. She is to bump into more than she thought she would, as the artist that she is looking after would know more about her mother's life. Julia moves about in various planes of consciousness - ghostly to astral, to find the truth about her mother and to fulfill the vengeance of her love for her mother. Julia unveils the secrets about her own self as much about others as she makes no attempt to suppress her capabilities, and uses it to come to the other side of all her miseries, for one last time.

Review:
The Vanishers: A Novel is a book that takes you deep into the anguish and hurt of a daughter who had been separated with her mother at a very young age. Her psychic abilities is her tool to get behind the mystery behind of her mother's death and also her enemy as she invites a lot of untoward incidences that involve a spiteful psychic attack by her teacher. The dormant powers of Julia keep opening up to her as she keeps walking on the path to go on the other side of her hurt and grief. The book makes you feel how the incoherent forces of hate and jealousy, the apparent cloaks of humongous negativity work to set in motion a change in the life of a person, a change that will carry them up through the ladders of the game of life.

The love that gets marred by the event of a loss can take form of a smoldering vengeance, a relentless spite that shows no respite even to the individual holding it. The grudge and impatience of Julia reflects the sub-conscious abberations as they move about it in our infinite environment looking for a place to hide; an acceptance, to hide forever in peace.

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Nhut Pham

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