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Watch Me Disappear Paperback – 11 Jan 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; New Ed edition (11 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340822996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340822999
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Slow-burning, spine-crawling...It is a compelling, haunting and intelligent read.' (Amanda Craig, Daily Telegraph )

'Clever, compelling and impressive' (Angela Cooke Daily Express )

'The flavour of the 1970s is so accurate you can taste it...An unusually skilful and haunting novel' (Sam Phipps, Sunday Herald )

'An outstanding novel ... An intense, intelligent and compelling book that readers will find impossible to forget.' (Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail )

'A chilling and sharply articulated exploration of memories, identity and family relationships' (Anna Millar, Scotland on Sunday )

Book Description

By the Orange and Whitbread shortlisted author of FRED AND EDIE, a subtle and intriguing novel exploring the line between innocent and warped desire

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Watch me disappear has everything you can ask for from a novel: it's compelling, engaging, moving and it draws you imperceptibly into another person's life while at the same time shedding light on your own.

Tina Humber lives a seemingly enviable existence: she's a successful English-born marine biologist who has made a life for herself in the United States with a loving partner and a happy, gifted daughter.

Yet when she accepts an invitation to go to her brother's marriage in the Fenland home of her youth, she is taking on more than a simple familial obligation. She is about to revisit a childhood world in which her school friend Mandy Baker goes missing, never to be seen again. This is a place where innocence is shattered and the dark secrets of family life seem to threaten even her own survival.

Watch me disappear is the fifth novel by the Whitbread and Orange Prize nominated author Jill Dawson whose previous works include Fred and Edie and Wild Boy. The characters, landscapes, dialogue and imagery are natural yet eerily haunting throughout; it's a work seems to move effortlessly from the page into the recesses of the reader's mind, yet clearly it can't have been an easy subject for a mother-of-two to enter into so profoundly.

Much like dreams themselves, the inherent elusiveness of memory is a constant theme throughout a novel which refuses to give simple, two-dimensional solutions to traumatic childhood events viewed through an adult's subjective perspective.
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Format: Hardcover
Watch Me Disappear is a haunting exploration of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a ten year old girl, Mandy Baker, and the impact this has thirty years later on the narrator, Tina Humber, a schoolfriend of Mandy, as she begins to unravel the puzzle and realise who was responsible. Once I'd started it, I couldn't put it down - it draws you in and you have to read on.
The world of childhood in the seventies is brilliantly evoked, as is the onset of sexual awareness and the way it confers both power and vulnerability on young teenage girls.
The novel slides effortlessly between the present and the past, the reader's understanding deepening along with Tina's. She is a marine biologist and one of the delights of the book is the way that her work with seahorses is woven into the story.
The fens which are the backdrop for the story are powerfully described, making their presence felt almost like another character.
Everything is described with pin-sharp detail that's very enjoyable and yet the story is very readable; it bowls along to the end, when I felt satisfied, yet sorry because it was over. But I cheered myself up by thinking I could read it again - it's the sort of many-layered book that you can return to more than once.
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Format: Hardcover
Tina has returned to her birthplace in the Fens for a family wedding, after years of happy exile in the USA. Haunted (quite literally) by the disappearance of her childhood friend and the tension in her family as she grew up, Tina's return sparks an emotional keg as she begins to remember more and more about the past; not just her childhood, but her adolescence as well.

"Watch Me Disappear" is an absorbing novel, with beautiful descriptions of the Fens, the fragility of memory and the lurking fears at the back of the mind which you don't want to examine too closely. It has a loose episodic structure, which is ideal if you want to dip in and out of the book. However, this structure also means you can get quite impatient: just when Tina is talking about something interesting, she will veer off and focus on something else; while realistic, this becomes increasingly irritating as the climax draws closer.

Moreover, the disappearance of a child in a small community has already been written about in a book published last year, the excellent "Eve Green" by Susan Fletcher. There are enough differences in the storylines to keep both books fresh, but anyone who has read that will find some portions of this book rather familiar. Sadly, although the writing was good, I'd guessed who was responsible for the disappearance before I was half way through the novel.

Buy this book for its fine writing and musings on life and memory, not for plot twists.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first of Jill Dawsons books that I have read and I can happily confirm that it wont be the last. Beautifully written, the author explores the sinister side of a period in a girls life that should be all about lipstick and candyfloss but sadly, for many, can be painful and destructive. The theme is sensitively approached, the prose compelling, you will love it! Read it and then sit back and ponder...
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Format: Paperback
This book is written in a lush, addictive way that leaves a strong imprint in the mind. At first I thought that it was lots of quirky thoughts compiled together, so that none of it was relevant or important, but then I realised that it was the profanity of the quotes and the distance between each thought that made them so relevant. Gripping story, takes a bit of time to get used to the literary style but once it has been read it sticks. Dark, mysterious, but not in an obvious way - since most of the story is shaded with innocent recollections of summertime and childhood. Compelling and subtle.
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