Every now and again, a book whisks me away into a magical world. Within the first chapter of The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen, I felt drawn to the novel’s tiny island.
Seemingly frozen in time, the tiny island is home to a handful of people. At first glance, these folks escaped to the island because they couldn’t take the regular world anymore. There’s Priest who bakes incessantly, a magician who makes magic boxes, Papa the philosopher (who claims to be a descendant of Descartes), and Minou, the philosopher’s daughter.
Minou stumbles upon a dead boy in the snow. Her father brings the boy to their home until the next shipping boat is scheduled to arrive. Her father, who is on a journey to discover the truth, encourages Minou to talk to the boy. The frozen, dead boy is a catalyst for Minou as she comes to terms with her mother’s disappearance. All the adults on the island is convinced that her mother is dead, but Minou reasons that it’s the opposite.
The novel is told from Minou’s point of view, drawing on her innocent young mind. Her philospher in training mind wants her mother’s vanishing to be logical, conform to reasoning. Her artist mother’s imagination is also fingerprinted upon Minou. Her view of life on the island is colored by her attempt to balance both parts of her.
The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen is a quick read, but I made myself savor each chapter. There’s so much left unsaid about the other characters. Why does the Priest have an obsession with baking? Why did Minou’s mother come to the island in the first place? And Minou, where will she go next?
This book is definitely a keeper. It’s staying on my bookshelf. I think the more I read The Vanishing Act, the more I get out of it.
I received a review copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.