About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

I've just finished reading the strangest book... The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen. Each reading session I would begin where I left off feeling perplexed, delighted and annoyed and after a few more pages my feelings would intensify. I was perplexed because the story read like a fairy tale but there didn't seem to be any point to it. The characters' motivations weren't clear and their back stories were scant. There were characters and items which I thought were symbols, but what they may have represented I couldn't tell.
The Vanishing Act
(Text Publishing, 2011)
   However I was delighted with The Vanishing Act because it is a refreshingly original island story. Minou and her parents live on an isolated dot in the ocean somewhere very cold after the war (Is it WW2?-it's hard to say, the author has made everything vague).  Despite this loose connection with setting the writer has created quirky characters who fill the spaces with colour and humour. Unfortunately for young Minou her mother vanishes one day. There is speculation she was washed off the rocks into the sea. The young narrator's voice oozes innocence and denial as she is certain her mother will return.
   This novel did annoy me though because it went back and forth and round and round in no particular order and I became confused several times about what was back story and what was not. There is also the complication of the dead boy who washes ashore. When both Minou and her father begin talking to the corpse things get kind of bizarre...then there is the peculiar uncle and the implausible turtle, the aged peacock, the suicidal goat...
   But I have to say I cried and cried at the end when things became a bit clearer and I realised afterall that I did enjoy the story despite my complete bewilderment over what it all meant. Give it a try if you like literary fiction, but if you're after action and adventure this book won't deliver for you.

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