The Vanishing Paperback – 1 Sep 2003
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'A jagged riff on the vagaries of chance' -- Time Out
'A masterly work, concise, stylistically bold and full of surprises' -- Observer
About the Author
Tim Krabbe is one of Holland's leading writers whose many books include the noir novel THE CAVE and the cycling classic THE RIDER (both published by Bloomsbury). A chess and cycliing enthusiast, he lives in Amsterdam. Sam Garrett, a former wire-service correspondent, s the translator of The Cave and The Rider by Tim Krabbe, The Gates of Damascus by Lieve Joris and Silent Extras by Arnon Grunberg.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story of a man whose girlfriend mysteriously vanishes whilst they are holidaying in France may not seem that original, but with the creation of the emotionless, monstrous sociopath Lemorne, Krabbe takes the book into fascinating and genuinely chilling territory. The documentation of his gradual progression from detached intellectual observer into twisted murderer is unforgetable, all the while as calm and removed as the character himself.
The only flaw is that at times, the phrasing and the abundance of exclamation marks grates, perhaps due to its translation from the original Dutch, hence three rather than four stars.
This is a short but perfectly formed book. For me, it excels in giving the reader a glimpse into the mind of a killer. It is chilling to read the simple and matter-of-fact thought processes that lead a seemingly ordinary human being to commit murder. Krabbé's villain is so scary precisely because he is so 'normal', a man that you can easily imagine passing by in the street or bumping into at the supermarket. The tension builds and builds until the terrifying finale. Even though I knew exactly what to expect, having seen the film, I was at the edge of my seat for the last chapter.
It's difficult for me to say which I would recommend doing first - watching the film or reading the book? Usually the book wins every time, but in the case of The Vanishing I'm not so sure. I think if you're unfamiliar with the story then to be honest I'd probably recommend watching the original Dutch movie first, as the ending is one of the most shocking and memorable I can think of. However, even if you know what's coming, this little book is still a really worthwhile read.
Well, this is the relatively famous story about murder which was filmed twice. The first kept to the original narrative the second, I think designed for the American market, didn't preferring a happy ending (missing the entire point of the book). A young couple Rex and Saskia stop at a service station in France (we're given no dating for the events but Rex uses a Polaroid camera so probably contemporary of its year of authorship 1984) and whilst waiting, his girlfriend is kidnapped never to be seen again - years later the deranged abductor gives the youth the chance to end his anguish of not knowing and experience the girl's fate.
This is a well written subtle tale which quickly arrives at its conclusion. Though you'll enjoy the book especially if you liked either film, I did find it far too short - I just wanted to know more, and most importantly I thought Rex's obsession could have been significantly elaborated on. The abductor's family home life was there to expand too. I think my biggest criticism is that the abductor does so much (despite repeatedly being aware not to) suspicious things (loitering at service stations, fake slings etc) - somehow I feel the police would have had so much to `go on' in tracing the girl. Oh well 3 stars.
A quote "He thought about the pros and cons, always with the dark sense that it was already certain he would jump"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Crikey, how can so much tension, and almost horror, be contained within so small a volume? Great writing, nothing unbelievable about the steps the characters take.Published 7 months ago by PK
I read this book years ago and it left its mark on me. Found it on amazon and decided to read it again. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Anne Davies