The Artist Vanishes by Terry Westby-Nunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I picked up The Artist Vanishes, my plan was to read the first few sentences and then add it to the bottom of my virtual stack. Instead I knew I had just discovered a treasure in this literary mystery thriller!
FIRST SENTENCE: "The wind blew last night, taking with it dead things, forgotten things, lost things."
THEN: Capetown artist Sophie Tugiers disappeared after one of her controversial installations, Bloodbath, was linked to a participant's brutal suicide.
NOW: Several years later James Dempster, a film maker in a creative and alcoholic slump, discovers his apartment was once Sophie's home. His curiosity is aroused. What happened to Sophie? James' daughter encourages him to do some research hoping a new project will restart his life and career.
WHAT I THOUGHT: After that first sentence, I immediately started reading. The plot alone was interesting but the creation of the world of the book was even more fascinating. It's impressive how the author managed to touch on so many volatile issues without patronizing or preaching to the reader while writing about big pharmaceutical companies and animal testing, the responsibility of artists and how they are changed by fame and money, and the meaning of friendship.
Characters are distinctly drawn and memorable. The pacing moves the story along with surprises and rewards. It's a delight to read writing this beautiful.
Terry Westby-Nunn is also the author of The Sea of Wise Insects.
BOTTOM LINE: This is an amazing book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
DISCLAIMER: Thank you to NetGalley / Penguin Books for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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