Customer Reviews for

We Disappear

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Modus Exodus

    Modus Exodus

    It is rewarding to find book titles that can be taken on so many levels. Such is the case for Scot Heim's fine novel WE DISAPPEAR. Yes, the running story is the following of mother and son on the trail of missing children (and that story is sufficient reason to become engrossed in this compelling novel). But the characters Heim creates are all 'disappearing' - from the descending vitality of Donna the mother whose battle with lymphoma is a losing one and she is disappearing into death, to the mind state of her son Scott whose life centers on smoking and snorting crystal meth and balancing his slow disappearance from reality with heavy doses of Ambein sleeping pills, to the all but disappeared presence of Alice (Scott's sister who can no longer cope with Scott's drugs or her mother's prolonged futile chemotherapy, to the disappearances of Donna's friend Dolores into the bourbon glass, to the disappearance of Gavin - the drug source for the addicted Scott. Sounds too far fetched to be true? No, not in the skilled hands of Heim who knows well how to build characters so that we visualize them with ease and thus take note of their varying forms of disappearing.

    But the main story line is Donna's preoccupation with disappearing children, a topic she has made her life's work and the trail for which she has called her son Scott from his New York stupor to help her complete. Together they make an odd but ultimately endearing couple as they follow clues for reported missing (read 'kidnapped') children whose bodies are recovered after some ungainly pasts. In the end it is a tale that Donna shares with Scott, his sister Alice, and her friend Dolores - a tale that unveils secrets of Donna's childhood that are shocking and puzzling. In the midst of this search there appears a young teenager Otis who winds up kidnapped in Donna's basement and with whom Scott discovers the secrets Donna has shrouded.

    This may sound like a cast of misfits about whom we could care little, but in Scott Heim's eloquent prose we grow into the minds of these folks from Kansas and become inextricably involved in the conundrums they each present. Heim understands addiction, suffering, the dying process, and the need for returning to the womb that mother's, no matter how loony, represent. This is a story that could be excerpted purely for the descriptions of the lonely plains of Kansas and the atmospheres of the seasons. It simply is a fine read, on every level.

    Grady Harp

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    Posted January 16, 2012

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