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A Kind of Vanishing Audio Download – Unabridged

3.6 out of 5 stars 426 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 38 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Matrix Digital Publishing
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 22 Mar. 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TASP40

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lesley Thomson weaves an intricate and mesmerising storyline guaranteed to keep you turning the pages. Initially, the story is set in the late 1960s and beautifully evokes the attitudes and atmosphere of the times. Two nine-year-old girls from very different backgrounds are forced to play together, against their wishes, by their well-meaning parents. One of them vanishes without trace. The narrative continues apace and explores the complex relationships within and between the two families involved as the years unfold and the child is not found. The plot develops with many twists and turns as it heads towards a truly chilling penultimate chapter. Concluding at a Millennium Eve party, the novel is very relevant to present times reflecting,as it does, people's increasing anxieties and concerns over the vulnerability of young children to the evils of modern society.A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A work colleague recommended this book and I started reading it not really sure what to expect. Whilst it took me a while to get into it, by part 2 I was definitely hooked and wanted to discover what happens to the characters, even the ones I didn't warm to, and the detail of the descriptions meant that I could clearly visualise each one. The two main characters whom we initially meet as 9 year old girls had been put together by their well-meaning parents and I could relate to this situation. The descriptions of the part of Sussex where a lot of the story takes palce was also recogniseable.

This is a well crafted novel which definitely merits a second reading as it is easy to miss some of the clues the first time round. It also works on several different levels - a mystery which might be a murder, human relationships, and trust and mistrust within families. I'm looking forward to more novels from this Sussex based author.
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Format: Paperback
My wife kind of vanished for a few days. Then I noticed this book seemed to to occupy the space where she used to be. When she returned I picked the book up and kind of vanished too...
This book really keeps you guessing. There are a series of mysteries that keep you intrigued so you have to find an explanation for them. This is a murder mystery where you are not even sure the crime has been committed.
As you read through the book you are left with a series of questions. At the start of the story you are introduced to two beautifully drawn complex families through the inner thoughts of two nine year old girls who are thrown together as playmates but who don't really like each other much. One of these dissappears for the larger part of the novel and when she re-enters you are left confused but fascinated to work out what has really been going on. Thomson has a way of telling one story but leaving you in no doubt that something else is going on behind the main narrative and leaving it tantalisingly beyond your reach until the very end.
The story is full of twists, the crime and the criminal hinted at throughout but not named until the final two chapters. This is a fine telling of a tale based on an elaborate maze of distrust, it's very much a story of our time where right and wrong live together in a kind of restless intimacy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read some of Leslie Thompson’s other books, I knew to expect a slow start and a lot of description, and this one was no exception. But I also knew that if you stick with it, you will be rewarded with beautifully drawn, complex characters and a satisfying plot. I actually preferred this novel to the Detective’s Daughter books; I like the way she manages to get inside the heads of two very different young girls, and, as a compulsive daydreamer myself, I liked the characterisation of Eleanor as a child and how she stood out to most people as ‘different’ to other children, and also the chilling realisation of what her fantasy world had been hiding. I had an inclination of the first major twist but I hadn’t twigged all of it, and I couldn’t piece together how it had been achieved, so it was still a surprise when it was explained.

Even though the description was long winded in places, and there was sometimes too much ‘showing’ in order to illustrate a particular character trait, I did enjoy reading about the two different families and it was poignant how similar some of the characters had become over time: alienated, battling physical and/or mental illness, keeping secrets from their loved ones. I also liked the way that the author took a family who are seen as respectable, wealthy and admirable and opened it up so that you could see the flaws. The message that I took away from it, and from Alice’s resentfulness towards her own family when she thinks they don’t match up to the Ramseys, is that money and status truly can’t buy happiness and how silly it is for people to feel resentful towards others just because of their perceived financial status.

I certainly wouldn’t call this a fast-paced thriller if that’s what you’re looking for; it’s more of a family drama centred around an ongoing mystery.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What starts off as a promising enough piece of fiction about the disappearance of a young girl in 1968 rapidly becomes bogged down in the mechanics of writing, leaving much of A Kind of Vanishing almost unfathomable, and certainly unreadable.

I had high hopes for this in the opening chapters, but as the action switched from 1968 to 1999, the characters became difficult to follow in their actions and relationships, and either this was just all incredibly clever and went over my head, or it was just over-complicated for the sheer sake of it. At times, Lesley Thomson's writing seemed quite effortful, almost as if she was producing an extended exercise in writing for the sake of it, rather than the enjoyment of storytelling - and maybe that's what they teach at creative writing classes these days - something that Thomson is involved with.

For a book crafted with a seemingly meticulous attention to detail of time and place, mention of Star Trek in 1968 is a mistake as the show didn't air on UK television until 1969 - the summer of the first Moon landing - so this grated slightly. But that is a minor complaint with the more serious way in which the book spirals out of control as it proceeds - and like other reviewers here have commented - the plot is confused and you really don't care too much what has happened. If Agatha Christie had produced this it would have been done and dusted in 200 pages - and no bad thing too.

Sometimes, authors just over-write for the sake of it - and an Act of Vanishing is perhaps the greatest example of that I have come across in some time. A brief outline of Thomson's working methods and use of photographs to outline the storytelling process at the end of the Kindle version is about as clear as mud - and makes about as much sense as the rest of the book.

Yet again, a greatly hyped book that simply fails to deliver. A huge disappointment.
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