In The Afterglow of THE DISAPPEARED
I am reeling. I write this in the afterglow of what is not only the last book I will read in 2011, but also the very best. Kim Echlin’s novel The Disappeared is about a girl, Anne Greves, who falls in love with Serey, a Cambodian musician forced to leave his homeland when the Khmer Rouge regime takes over. Anne is sixteen when the love affair begins, then a decade later, she goes to Cambodia to find the man she loved, and who loved her. I have rarely, if ever, found a love like Anne and Serey’s in the pages of a novel. I read it quickly, as if the book might disintegrate in my hands before I could finish. The Disappeared is so beautiful and so painful; the passion and love makes the tragedy and pain possible, or perhaps it is the other way around. Either way, this is an exquisite book. It reminds me of what a novel can be. And it will stay with me for a long, long time.