The Artist Of Disappearance (Paperback)
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Finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction
“The excellent strength [the novellas] share is a gracefulness and dreamlike sonority, reminiscent of writers like Jhumpa Lahiri and W.G. Sebald, wherein strange evolutions of solitary lives are the rule, and readers are held by the stately, hypnotic dignity of the voice that tells them.” – San Francisco Chronicle
Set in modern India, these three novellas move beyond the cities to places still haunted by the past, and to characters who are, each in their own way, masters of self-effacement. An unnamed government official is called upon to inspect a faded mansion of forgotten treasures where he discovers a surprise "relic." A translator blurs the line between writer and translator, and in so doing risks unraveling her desires and achievements. In the title novella, a hermit hidden away in the woods with a secret is discovered by a film crew, which compels him to withdraw even further until he magically disappears . . .
Rich and evocative, remarkable in their clarity and sensuous in their telling, these novellas remind us of the extraordinary yet delicate power of this pre-eminent writer.
“Desai, at her best, offers enchanting, subtle, and deeply observed portraits of layered characters trapped between worlds.” – Daily Beast
“Lingers in the memory the same way these landscapes and people of India prove impossible to forget.” – Boston Globe
About the Author
ANITA DESAI is the author of Fasting, Feasting, The Art of Disappearance, The Zig Zag Way, Clear Light of Day, and Diamond Dust, among other works. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Desai was born and educated in India and now lives in the New York City area.
"[Q]uiet, meticulous, unflinching meditations on the trajectories of three contemporary lives, and on the Indian cultures and landscapes that helped shape them." --San Francisco Chronicle "[A] collection of three superb novellas…. deceptively subtle, slightly surreal and profoundly insightful fiction of a world-class writer...These evocative stories about art and culture are sewn deeply into the fraying fabric of modern-day India. The only thing little about this book is its size." --The Washington Post "...eloquent and understated...[Desai's prose is] distinguished by its sober, often bracing prose, its patient eye for all-telling detail and its humane but penetrating intelligence..." --The New York Times Book Review "'[Desai] proves you can go home again...stirring..." --Marie Claire "In three ensnaring novellas of consummate artistry and profoundly disquieting perceptions, master storyteller Desai reflects on the transforming power and devastating limitations of art... Desai’s provocative and mysterious tales of displacement trace the reverberations when the dream of art collides with crushing reality." --Booklist, starred "...poignant and wry...a deft exploration of the limits people place on themselves by trying to cling to the past." --Kirkus Reviews "This collection leaves an indelible impression of the conflicts and ambitions found in a region riddled with conflict." --Publishers Weekly —