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Looking for a captivating and intense listening experience? Then look no further than “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips. In this audiobook review, we will delve deeper into the story, characters, and narration of this gripping novel.

Phillips’ debut novel explores the disappearance of two young sisters from a remote Kamchatka village and the ripple effect it has on the surrounding community. With a skillful and suspenseful writing style, Phillips navigates the cultural and social intricacies of the Kamchatka Peninsula, bringing the breathtaking and harsh landscape to life.

With the audiobook version of “Disappearing Earth,” expertly narrated by Ilyana Kadushin, listeners will be transported to this remote location and become immersed in the story’s twists and turns. So, buckle up and prepare for an unforgettable ride.

About the Author

Julia Phillips is an American author, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She graduated from Middlebury College, where she studied Russian and Creative Writing. Her love for Russia and the intricacies of human relationships led her to write her debut novel, “Disappearing Earth,” which was published in 2019 and received critical acclaim.

Phillips’ writing has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and The Atlantic. She was also a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.

“Disappearing Earth” is Phillips’ first novel, and it showcases her exceptional talent for storytelling, character development, and writing. Her unique background and experiences have contributed to her ability to craft thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narratives.

Summary of “Disappearing Earth”

In “Disappearing Earth,” the author Julia Phillips takes readers on a journey through the remote region of Kamchatka, Russia. The novel opens with the disappearance of two young girls, which sets off a chain of events that reveals the interconnected lives of the community. As the story unfolds, the mystery of the missing girls deepens, and tensions rise between the characters.

Phillips expertly weaves together various plot threads, examining the lives of Kamchatka’s inhabitants from different angles, exploring themes of isolation, connection, grief, and hope.

The novel is beautifully written, with descriptive language that transports readers to the windswept terrain of Kamchatka. The audiobook version of “Disappearing Earth” is skillfully narrated and adds an extra layer of depth to the story.

The table below provides a brief overview of the key elements of “Disappearing Earth”:

Setting Remote region of Kamchatka, Russia
Characters Many interconnected characters, each with their own story to tell
Plot The disappearance of two young girls sets off a chain of events that exposes the lives of the community
Themes Isolation, connection, grief, hope

Overall, “Disappearing Earth” is a captivating novel that explores both the beauty and darkness of life in a remote region of Russia. Phillips’ writing is masterful, and the audiobook version is an immersive experience that should not be missed.

Setting: Remote Kamchatka

If you enjoy reading books that transport you to unique and exotic locations, “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips will not disappoint. This audiobook is set in the remote region of Kamchatka, located in the far east of Russia. The book takes place over the course of a year and is divided into twelve chapters, each representing a month.

Phillips beautifully describes the harsh and rugged landscape of Kamchatka, where snow and ice dominate much of the year. The author’s vivid descriptions allow you to visualize the stunning beauty of the remote location, while also capturing the eerie and mysterious feel that the area possesses.

The setting of Kamchatka serves as an integral part of the story and adds to the overall sense of isolation and detachment that runs throughout the book. Phillips masterfully crafts the environment to create a palpable sense of tension and unease, making it another character within the story.

The audiobook brings Kamchatka to life, with the narrator’s captivating voice painting vivid imagery in your mind. You’ll feel as though you are right there in the remote location, experiencing the mystery and beauty of Kamchatka alongside the characters.

If you’re looking for an audiobook that will transport you to a unique and remote location, “Disappearing Earth” is a must-listen. The stunning setting of Kamchatka will leave you captivated and intrigued, making it a standout feature of this gripping story.

Character Development

Julia Phillips’ “Disappearing Earth” boasts a range of exquisitely crafted characters. From the protagonist sisters to supporting cast members, each character is skillfully written with compelling stories and unique personalities. The author’s exploration of their motives and development throughout the novel is masterful, making each character an essential contributor to the story.

One remarkable aspect of the book is how the author portrays the different perspectives of the characters, showcasing their depth and complexity. Through their thoughts, actions, and interactions with others, readers gain a better understanding of their experiences, which leads to their transformation and growth. Moreover, Phillips’ ability to create multidimensional characters with relatable emotions and reactions enhances the reader’s lived experience within the narrative.

As the story progresses, each character undergoes significant development, providing a thought-provoking examination of human behavior and the various situations that elicit growth. This aspect of “Disappearing Earth” is truly commendable, making the audiobook a must-listen for anyone looking to enjoy a rich and complex character-driven story.

Writing Style and Language

Julia Phillips’ writing style in “Disappearing Earth” is both descriptive and compelling, transporting the reader to the remote setting of Kamchatka. Through her use of vivid imagery and sensory language, Phillips brings the world of the novel to life and creates a sense of place that is both haunting and beautiful.

Furthermore, Phillips’ use of multiple perspectives and voices adds depth and complexity to the narrative, as each character has their own unique story to tell. This allows the reader to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the events that take place and the impact they have on the community as a whole.

The language used throughout the novel is poetic and atmospheric, reflecting both the harshness and beauty of life in Kamchatka. Phillips skillfully weaves in elements of the local culture and language, giving the reader a sense of the region’s rich history and traditions.

Overall, Phillips’ writing style and language are a highlight of “Disappearing Earth,” enhancing the reader’s immersive experience of the story and leaving a lasting impression.

Narration and Audiobook Performance

The narration and audiobook performance of “Disappearing Earth” add an extra layer of depth to the already well-crafted story. The audiobook is narrated by a single performer, Oksana Soloduha, whose voice fits the mood and tone of the novel perfectly. Soloduha effectively conveys the emotions of each character, bringing their stories to life.

The performance is engaging, with well-paced dialogue and clear enunciation. The use of different accents for the various characters adds an authentic touch to the story. Soloduha’s delivery ensures listeners are fully immersed in the narrative and invested in the lives of the characters.

Audiobook Performance

The audiobook’s sound quality is exceptional, ensuring listeners can hear every word clearly. The use of sound effects and music is minimal, but effective in creating atmosphere and enhancing certain scenes. Overall, the audiobook performance is a well-executed addition to the already outstanding storytelling of “Disappearing Earth.”

Themes and Symbolism

“Disappearing Earth” is a novel rich with themes and symbolism that contribute to its unique and powerful storytelling. One of the prominent themes in the novel is the exploration of the impact of power dynamics in society and how it affects marginalized groups. Through various characters, the author shines a light on the struggles faced by women, particularly indigenous women, in a patriarchal society. The portrayal of these struggles resonates with the experiences of many readers and draws attention to important social issues.

The symbolism in the novel is also significant, with many objects and settings serving as metaphors for deeper meanings. For example, the natural landscapes of Kamchatka represent both the beauty and danger of the world, reflecting the same duality in human experiences. Additionally, the recurring imagery of disappearing and lost things underscores the central theme of loss and the search for meaning.

Overall, the exploration of themes and symbolism in “Disappearing Earth” adds depth and complexity to the narrative, making it a thought-provoking and memorable read.

Pacing and Suspense

“Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips effectively builds a palpable tension through its pacing and suspense. The book’s slow-burning structure allows the reader to become fully immersed in the story’s environment and its unique set of characters. Phillips masterfully weaves a web of intrigue around the disappearance of two young girls on the remote Kamchatka peninsula, escalating the suspense with each passing chapter.

The book’s pacing is deliberate, drawing the reader deeper into the story. Phillips takes her time with each character, with each thread of the plot, allowing us to understand the intricacies of life on Kamchatka, its people, and customs. This careful attention to detail is what keeps readers invested in the story, eager to know more and understand the layers of complexity that are slowly being unveiled.

In addition, the book’s use of suspense is equally effective. The disappearance of the girls sets off a chain reaction of events, with each new reveal heightening the stakes. As the book progresses, the reader is left on edge, wondering what will happen next, and how it will all be resolved.

Overall, “Disappearing Earth” is a masterful display of pacing and suspense. Phillips’ careful attention to detail and use of intrigue keeps the reader fully engaged in the story, making for a truly captivating audiobook experience.

Plot Twists and Surprises

One of the most captivating aspects of “Disappearing Earth” is the unexpected plot twists and surprises that keep readers on the edge of their seats. From the disappearance of the two young girls to the revelation of the perpetrator, the story is full of shocking developments that propel the narrative forward.

The audiobook version of “Disappearing Earth” adds an extra layer of suspense, with expert narration that heightens the tension of each twist and turn. Listeners will find themselves completely absorbed in this thrilling tale of mystery and intrigue.

Plot Twists and Surprises

Unraveling the Mystery

As the story progresses, readers are kept guessing about the true identity of the kidnapper and the fate of the missing girls. The author expertly weaves multiple storylines together, revealing secrets and surprises along the way.

Just when readers think they have everything figured out, new twists are introduced that upend their assumptions and turn the story in a completely different direction. “Disappearing Earth” proves that sometimes the most unexpected plot twists can be the most satisfying.

Reception and Awards

Since its release, “Disappearing Earth” has received critical acclaim for its compelling storyline and masterful writing. The novel was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction and was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Mystery/Thriller.

Julia Phillips’ debut novel has left a lasting impression on readers and critics alike. The New York Times Book Review called it “a complex and engrossing novel that’s as haunting as it is evocative.” NPR praised the book, saying “Phillips has created a story that is both gripping and deeply moving.”

Many readers have also praised the audiobook version of “Disappearing Earth,” narrated by Ilyana Kadushin. The audiobook has garnered a 4.5-star rating on Audible, with listeners lauding Kadushin’s performance.

Awards and Recognitions

Award Category Result
National Book Award Fiction Finalist
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Mystery/Thriller Finalist

Comparison to Other Works

While “Disappearing Earth” stands out as a beautifully written, intricately woven story set in a unique location, it has similarities to other works in the genre. The story of a missing child and the interconnected lives of the community echoes the themes of Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You.” However, “Disappearing Earth” is set in the remote Kamchatka region, which adds an extra layer of isolation and mystery to the story.

Another book that shares similarities with “Disappearing Earth” is Tana French’s “The Searcher.” Both novels feature a missing person and an in-depth exploration of the characters affected by the disappearance. However, “The Searcher” takes place in a small Irish village, while “Disappearing Earth” is set in a vastly different environment.

Comparison Table

Works Similarities Differences
Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You” Missing child, interconnected community Set in a different location
Tana French’s “The Searcher” Missing person, in-depth exploration of characters Set in a different location

In comparison to these works, “Disappearing Earth” stands out with its unique setting and the deep exploration of the characters’ lives in a remote location. Julia Phillips’ beautiful prose and use of multiple perspectives make “Disappearing Earth” a standout work in the genre.

Discussion of Ending

The ending of “Disappearing Earth” is a powerful conclusion to the story, leaving readers with a sense of closure but also leaving room for interpretation. Throughout the audiobook, we follow the stories of various characters and how their lives intersect following the disappearance of two young girls in Kamchatka.

The final chapter brings all the stories together and reveals the fate of the missing girls. Without giving away any spoilers, it is safe to say that the ending ties up loose ends while also leaving readers with a lingering sense of the unknown.

The impact of the ending is amplified by Julia Phillips’ writing style, which builds suspense and tension throughout the audiobook. As the various storylines converge, listeners are left on the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the resolution.

The ending of “Disappearing Earth” also speaks to the larger themes present in the book, particularly the impact of trauma and the ways in which small, remote communities grapple with tragedy. It is a poignant and thought-provoking conclusion that will leave a lasting impression on listeners.

Final Thoughts on Disappearing Earth

Overall, “Disappearing Earth” is a powerful and evocative audiobook that explores complex themes and delivers a nuanced and gripping narrative. Julia Phillips’ writing is top-notch, and the audiobook performance only amplifies the impact of the story.

The use of language, character development, and symbolism all contribute to a rich and immersive listening experience that is as beautiful as it is haunting. The ending of the book is a satisfying conclusion to the story, leaving listeners with much to ponder.

If you’re looking for an engrossing and thought-provoking audiobook, “Disappearing Earth” is well worth a listen.

Analysis of Social and Cultural Themes

Julia Phillips explores a range of social and cultural themes in “Disappearing Earth” that are still relevant to modern-day society. Through the stories of the various characters, she addresses issues such as gender inequality, racism, and economic disparities.

One of the prominent themes in the novel is the portrayal of women. From the very beginning, the author centers the entire narrative around the disappearance of two girls. The story delves into the societal pressures that women face, and how they are often held to different standards than men. The different stories highlight issues such as abusive relationships and workplace discrimination.

Themes Description
Abuse Abuse and violence against women is a recurring theme in “Disappearing Earth”, which underlines how these problems are prevalent in our society.
Isolation Kamchatka, the remote location where the novel is set, is a place of isolation. The loneliness of the characters and their struggles with communication and relationships initiates a discussion around isolation and the modern world’s impact on interpersonal relationships.
Race and Ethnicity The novel touches upon issues of race and ethnicity and how they impact the characters’ lives. It examines notions of “otherness” and their effects on human interaction and understanding.
Family The book highlights the trials and tribulations of family life, such as the tension between siblings, the struggle to keep a relationship together, and the pain of losing a family member. The raw, authentic portrayal of family life, with all its imperfections, allows the reader to connect with the characters on a personal level.

Overall, “Disappearing Earth” is a complex and thought-provoking novel that raises important questions about contemporary society. The way Julia Phillips intertwines social and cultural issues into a criminal mystery narrative adds layers to the book’s message, making it both an enjoyable read and an impactful statement.


Overall, “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips is a thrilling and captivating audiobook that keeps you hooked until the end. The plot is masterfully crafted and the setting of remote Kamchatka adds an element of mystery and tension. The characters are well-developed and the writing style and language are both engaging and descriptive.

The narration and audiobook performance are top-notch and truly enhance the reading experience. The themes and symbolism present in the novel provide greater depth to the story and make it a thought-provoking read. The pacing and suspense are perfectly balanced, leading up to several shocking plot twists and surprises.

Overall, “Disappearing Earth” is a standout audiobook that showcases Julia Phillips’ talent as a writer. It has received widespread critical acclaim and deservedly so. If you are looking for a gripping and thought-provoking read, then “Disappearing Earth” should be at the top of your list.


What is “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips about?

“Disappearing Earth” is a novel by Julia Phillips that tells the story of two young girls who go missing in the remote region of Kamchatka, Russia, and the impact it has on the community. Through interconnected stories, the book explores themes of loss, resilience, and the complexities of human connections.

Who is Julia Phillips?

Julia Phillips is the author of “Disappearing Earth.” She is a critically acclaimed writer known for her stunning storytelling and ability to create vivid, complex characters. Phillips holds an MFA from Columbia University and has received numerous awards and recognition for her work.

Can you provide a summary of “Disappearing Earth”?

“Disappearing Earth” is a gripping novel set in the remote Kamchatka region of Russia. It begins with the disappearance of two young girls and follows the lives of various characters who are affected by this event. As the search for the missing girls unfolds, the book delves into the intricacies of relationships and the depths of human emotions, creating a captivating and thought-provoking narrative.

Why is the setting of Kamchatka significant in “Disappearing Earth”?

Kamchatka, a remote and mysterious location in Russia, plays a crucial role in shaping the atmosphere and storyline of “Disappearing Earth.” The isolated landscape, with its volcanoes and vast wilderness, creates a palpable sense of tension and isolation. Additionally, the cultural dynamics and the unique challenges that arise in such a remote setting add depth and complexity to the narrative.

How does Julia Phillips develop the characters in “Disappearing Earth”?

Julia Phillips skillfully develops the characters in “Disappearing Earth” by exploring their motivations, fears, and aspirations. Each character is given depth and complexity, allowing readers to connect with them on a deep emotional level. Through their relationships, experiences, and interactions, the characters evolve and reveal different facets of their personalities, making them relatable and engaging.

What is the writing style and language like in “Disappearing Earth”?

Julia Phillips’ writing style in “Disappearing Earth” is beautifully crafted and evocative. Her words flow seamlessly, creating vivid imagery that transports readers into the setting and brings the story to life. The language used is descriptive and poetic, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the characters’ experiences and emotions.

How is the narration and audiobook performance in “Disappearing Earth”?

The audiobook version of “Disappearing Earth” features a compelling narration and performance that enhances the storytelling experience. The skilled narrator captures the nuances of the characters’ voices, adding depth and authenticity to their dialogues and emotions. Overall, the audiobook offers an engaging and immersive way to experience the book.

What are the themes and symbolism present in “Disappearing Earth”?

“Disappearing Earth” explores various themes, including loss, isolation, community, and the interconnectedness of lives. Through symbolism, such as the unforgiving landscape of Kamchatka or the disappearances themselves, the book delves into deeper layers of meaning and raises questions about identity, human connection, and the search for truth.

How does the pacing and suspense contribute to “Disappearing Earth”?

The pacing and suspense in “Disappearing Earth” are skillfully executed, keeping readers engaged and intrigued throughout the story. The careful build-up of tension creates a sense of anticipation and propels the narrative forward, while well-timed revelations and plot developments heighten the suspense, making it difficult to put the book down.

Are there any notable plot twists or surprises in “Disappearing Earth”?

Yes, “Disappearing Earth” is filled with unexpected plot twists and surprises that add intrigue and excitement to the story. These twists serve to challenge readers’ assumptions and keep them guessing, ensuring that the narrative remains unpredictable and compelling.

How has “Disappearing Earth” been received and have there been any awards?

“Disappearing Earth” has received widespread acclaim from readers and critics alike. It has been praised for its intricate storytelling, rich character development, and atmospheric setting. Additionally, the novel has won several notable awards, further highlighting its literary merit and impact.

How does “Disappearing Earth” compare to other works in the genre?

“Disappearing Earth” stands out in the genre with its unique blend of mystery, literary fiction, and exploration of social themes. While it may share elements with other works, it offers a fresh and compelling perspective on the genre, making it a standout read for those seeking something distinctive and thought-provoking.

Can we discuss the ending of “Disappearing Earth”?

Yes, the ending of “Disappearing Earth” offers a powerful and thought-provoking conclusion to the story. It invites readers to reflect on the journey and themes explored throughout the book, leaving room for interpretation and discussion. The ending is both satisfying and open-ended, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.

What social and cultural themes are addressed in “Disappearing Earth”?

“Disappearing Earth” delves into various social and cultural themes, including gender inequality, societal expectations, and the impact of trauma on individuals and communities. Phillips explores these themes with sensitivity and insight, prompting readers to question societal norms and consider the complexities of human experiences.

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