The Disappearance

2012/01/24


The Disappearance: A Novella and StoriesThe Disappearance: A Novella and Stories by Ilan Stavans
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to wait and review this after meeting with my book club to discuss it because usually that helps me understand and enjoy the book more fully, but not in this case. Pretty much the whole group disliked it. There were two short stories and a novella, I only liked the last short story. The other two pieces I found unbearable.


Reading about the Mexican Jewish experience seemed like it would be intriguing. But it seemed to me that the understandable alienation that the author felt growing up (the pieces being somewhat autobiographical) has made him bitter and seems to want to punish the reader by making us feel excluded, rather than illuminating and breaking down barriers through explanation/education.


I feel the author and his work comes across as snobby and pretentious. This is completely typified by a moment in the novella where he is describing the home of one character and in the process lists the books on his coffee table. The author lists some classic and important works that are there and among them he decides to slip in one of his own titles! Lame.


The last short story, Xerox Man, was intriguing to me and I thought it had the best voice of the collection. But still, not enough for me to recommend this title to anyone.


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