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The Man Who Disappeared [Paperback]

Clare Morrall
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

24 Jun 2010

What would you do if, out of the blue, your husband disappeared and you found out he was a suspected criminal?

When reliable, respectable Felix Kendall vanishes, his wife Kate is left reeling. As she and their children cope with the shocking impact on their comfortable lives, Kate realises that, if Felix is guilty, she never truly knew the man she loved. But as she faces the possibility that he might not return, she also discovers strengths she never knew she had.

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The Man Who Disappeared + The Roundabout Man + Astonishing Splashes of Colour
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (24 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340994290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340994290
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Down at the core, beneath its several layers, THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED is a well-crafted suspense story...Morrall digs beneath the surface to mine psychological nuggets, some of them gold. (Rachel Hore, Independent on Sunday)

A wise, intelligent and surprising novel, in which - as in life - nothing is simple (Kate Saunders, The Times)

A highly achieved, engrossing read... Superbly imagined, it reads like documentary truth. (Tom Adair, Scotsman)

Compelling...In clear, concise prose, Morrall movingly depicts Kate's strength in the face of adversity, and Felix's excoriating regret at the damage done. (Marie Claire)

An absorbing novel about deception and self-discovery (Grazia)

An inspiring story about a woman who finds inner strength as her world crumbles (TV Times)

an engaging, unpretentious read (Scottish Sunday Herald)

Book Description

The new novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of ASTONISHING SPLASHES OF COLOUR, an absorbing and thought-provoking tale about the impact on a happy family when the husband mysteriously vanishes.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An understated yet powerful read 3 July 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the TV Book Club's Summer Reads selection and one which I was pleased to see. I have read two of Morrall's previous novels, " Astonishing Splashes of Colour" and "The Language of Others", both of which examined characters on the periphery of society, one with synaesthesia and one with Asperger Syndrome. I enjoy the quirkiness of her novels, their introspectiveness and total lack of showiness.

In "The Man who Disappeared", Felix Kendall is the one on the outside looking in, standing on the pavement gazing longingly at real life portraits of family life in lit front rooms, a family life he yearns for having been orphaned at an early age. He's as unreadable as the sphinx which perhaps explains why his wife Kate and his children remained blissfully unaware of his involvement in a money laundering scheme - the discovery of which leads to Felix disappearing without a trace, his family left to pick up the pieces.

This isn't an in your face, action thriller, quite the opposite - man vanishes, wife has to struggle on with all the usual humdrum chores of life. In this tightly knit narrative, we see the after effects of Felix's disappearance, especially those which impinge on his family not just in material but also in emotional terms. How well do you ever know someone? There aren't any great exaggerations/dramatic scenes at play here - it's all focussed on people like Kate who discovers she never really knew the man she worshipped and how unsettling that must be in every respect.

"Was he ever the man she'd thought he was? It now seems as if he was little more than a model of Action Man, designed to bend and adapt to all circumstances...He was a blank space, inviting creativity, a man for all seasons.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappearing Dad 22 Jan 2010
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Clare Morrall's The Man Who Disappeared is perhaps more accurately about the wife and young family of the disappearing man. The book tells the story of the impact on a family when their well-to-do life is shattered following the discovery that the husband, a partner in an accountancy firm, has been involved in a money laundering operation and has fled both his family and the police.

It's not clear at first how much Felix Kendall is involved in the scandal and his disappearance prompts speculation that he is the criminal mastermind behind the plan. He leaves behind his wife, Kate, two young children (a third is at university) to not only deal with the absence of the father/husband, but also to deal with the press and the absence of money as the family's bank accounts are frozen. Career house-wife Kate is forced to take low paid work and the family has to move out of its comfortable home into a dingy flat. The family wonder if Felix will return and if they even want that to happen.

It's a fascinating scenario, and realistically plausible. But somehow it never quite grips as it should. Everyone copes just too well. However, it's an interesting alternative to the sugary chick lit genre.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland 14 July 2010
By M. Keys
I enjoyed reading this book because it made me think 'What would happen if...' about my life. I liked the way it is written from the different characters' perspectives too, but I certainly didn't find it a 'page turner'. Unfortunately I found the characters to be extremely dull people, especially Kate, so I couldn't relate to them and I didn't really care what happened to them.

I think this is a nice, gentle tale that throws up some interesting perspectives on comfort, security, relationships, trust etc... but it is lacking depth and imagination in the 4 main characters, which makes it seem a little bland.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars great premise but disappointing read 29 Oct 2010
By Anna
This should have been a great book. The premise is an interesting one: how does the family left behind cope when the husband and father simply vanishes? I was looking forward to an interesting mix of mystery/thriller and exploration of the strengths the family found within themselves. Very disappointing ... the characters are not only rather poorly drawn but simply fail to excite or make the reader care about their eventual outcomes; there are various plot holes (or at least liberties taken with the realitites of such a situation) and the whole thing simply falls flat. I did finish the book but found myself idly flicking through the pages to see how it all turned out rather than begin gripped by good writing, characters I cared in and a well-paced plot.

I really enjoyed Clare Morrall's first book, found her second somewhat disappointing and rthought this, her third, was really poorly conceived and written. not sure I have it in me to read her next one ... there are just too many good books out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been brilliant. 31 July 2010
This book was fun, escapist reading. I enjoyed the way in which it explored the reactions of each of the children as the story progressed. I particularly liked the characters of the two redoubtable Aunts who bring Felix up after his parents were killed. I was disappointed in Felix himself however. I wanted to know what happened on the night of his parent's murder. I also would have liked more about his inner motivations, particularly why it was so easy for him to be drawn into fraud. That said, definitely worth a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't love, didn't hate.
Took so long to get into it and kept putting it down. The writing is so hard to stick with as it's so basic. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Mrs Moon
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
this book set in a small seaside town near where I live so it was interesting to me from that angle alone but a very enjoyable and human read.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. Pamela J. Glennie
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really a crime novel
I find this novel really difficult to classify. The blurb makes it sound like a crime/thriller but once I had finished reading it, 'The Man Who Disappeared' seemed neither. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sarah Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Repercussions
First of all, I must say that I bought this in paperback at a bargain price from a charity shop.
I usually only review my kindle books. Read more
Published 15 months ago by serenity)
3.0 out of 5 stars doesn't jump out at you
This book is about a family whose lives get turned upside down by the actions of the father figure.

He is involved with fraud and winds up being wanted by the police,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by missreadalot
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good
This is highly readable, the writing smooth and cracks along. I'm just not sure the story itself engaged me that once we'd passed the initial premise stage. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ms. K. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Disappeared
Really enjoyed this book - felt the characters were well drawn, their likeable points were there but also negative ones. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dilys Rhodes
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok - not as exciting as the title sounds
The book is primarily about the wife and children of Felix Kendall and how they cope after he disappears, after the police get wind of his alleged involvement in money laundering. Read more
Published on 15 May 2012 by M. Block
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this, despite its flaws
Felix Kendall has worked hard to build a privileged lifestyle for himself and his family. But one day, he vanishes with no apparent trace, leaving his wife Kate and three children... Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2012 by Open Ears
2.0 out of 5 stars book and characters in search of an identity
was attracted to this because of "Astonishing splashes of colour" which was well-written, and also the reviews on the cover. Read more
Published on 8 July 2011 by kaper
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