The Artist of Disappearance: Three Novellas by Anita Desai
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