by Julia Phillips
Reviewed by Linda:
It's not often that an author's first book is a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Best Book of the Year. This novel revolves around the lives that are upended when two young sisters are abducted from a beach near their home in Kamchatka. The setting of Kamchatka, an enormous peninsula in Russia's Far East, is a powerful reason to read the book because it is an unknown land to most of us. The bulk of the population lives in the city of Petropavlovsk, near the Southern tip. North is the tundra, home to the region's indigenous people who herd reindeer. Residents who must leave Kamchatka do so by plane, although tourist ships, both Russian and Japanese, visit in the summer for the stunning beauty of the region with its many volcanoes. How can two girls, who were seen getting into an unknown man's car, vanish from this isolated place? The prose is stunning and the ending a surprising twist.