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The Vanishers | [Heidi Julavits]

The Vanishers

Julia Severn is a student at an elite institute for psychics. Her mentor, the legendary Madame Ackermann, afflicted by jealousy, subjects Julia to the humiliation of reliving her mother's suicide when Julia was an infant. As the two lock horns, and Julia gains power, Madame Ackermann launches a desperate psychic attack that leaves Julia the victim of a crippling ailment. But others have noted Julia's emerging gifts, and soon she's recruited to track down an elusive missing person who might have a connection to her mother.
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Publisher's Summary

Julia Severn is a student at an elite institute for psychics. Her mentor, the legendary Madame Ackermann, afflicted by jealousy, subjects Julia to the humiliation of reliving her mother's suicide when Julia was an infant. As the two lock horns, and Julia gains power, Madame Ackermann launches a desperate psychic attack that leaves Julia the victim of a crippling ailment. But others have noted Julia's emerging gifts, and soon she's recruited to track down an elusive missing person who might have a connection to her mother. As Julia sifts through ghosts and astral clues, everything she thought she knew of her mother is called into question, and she discovers that her ability to know the minds of others goes far deeper than she ever imagined.

©2012 Heidi Julavits (P)2012 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What the Critics Say

"...wry, witty...magical...Julavits's often acerbic prose generates laughs despite the sad reality of Julia's life." (Publishers Weekly)

"...searing...Intelligent and ambitious..." (Kirkus Reviews)

“An absorbing meditation on female competition with Hitchcockian twists” (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (40 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.3 (36 )
5 star
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2 star
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Story
3.2 (35 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    jill LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 08-19-12
    jill LOS ANGELES, CA, United States 08-19-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of my favorite books"
    Where does The Vanishers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Probably my favorite audio book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Too many to love. This is a quirky read.


    Have you listened to any of Xe Sands’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not heard her before but will be looking to listen to her again.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I did want to. Instead I wound up listening to it several times in a row.


    Any additional comments?

    A unique read. The narrative is complex, unusual, otherworldly. The narrator draws you in and hypnotizes you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CasyK Canada, orig Essex, UK 06-01-12
    CasyK Canada, orig Essex, UK 06-01-12 Member Since 2009

    CasyK

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dull"

    I am sorry to say I did not like the narrator who left me in a somnolent state most of the time. Her voice sounded bored, pouty and flatlined. I did not get in to the story or care what happened to the main protagonist. The outline for the book made an interesting read but the the actual prose did nothing for me. I am not sure if I would have got more from this book if I had read it myself,

    I would definitely listen to a snippet to see if you like the narrator. I bought this on a whim as it was recommended in the Oprah book club list and sounded very interesting. I wish I had listened to my own advice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meaghan QUINCY, MA, United States 03-27-14
    Meaghan QUINCY, MA, United States 03-27-14 Member Since 2010
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    "annoying narrator"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator of this book sort of drifts off with each sentence. It's an affectation that I found very irritating.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina Sturgis, MI, United States 06-12-12
    Gina Sturgis, MI, United States 06-12-12 Member Since 2009
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    "I should have listened to the reviews"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I have never given up on a book this soon, but after an hour of listening to the unbelievably annoying, simpering, melodramatic voice of the narrator, and the overly wordy while telling me absolutely nothing and having no point story, I had to give up. And I was on a road trip! I'd listen to someone read the dictionary on a road trip if there was nothing else (unless, of course, it was this narrator).

    I liked the premise, so maybe I'll try to Kindle this and scrape through the first hour of the story again, but I probably won't.

    Wish there was a way to tag this narrator in case I mistakingly pick a book that has her on it again.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Xe Sands’s performances?

    No way.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica DALLAS, TX, United States 04-30-12
    Jessica DALLAS, TX, United States 04-30-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    8
    1
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    "i didn't hate it but i didn't love it"
    What did you like best about The Vanishers? What did you like least?

    I liked the idea behind the story. It's not something that sounded familiar. I think I was hoping for something a more based on the reviews and summary. Overall just left me feeling a bit depressed and glad it was over.


    Would you recommend The Vanishers to your friends? Why or why not?

    I did recommend it...we listened to it at the same time and in the end both felt similar. So I don't think I would suggest it to someone else.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Xe Sands’s performances?

    I didn't love this reader which may have been part of my dislike of the book. I felt I had to get past her voice to hear the story.


    Was The Vanishers worth the listening time?

    It made me think so I don't discount the time spent listening although I didn't thoroughly enjoy it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosalyn Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 04-22-12
    Rosalyn Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands (U.S.) 04-22-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Marguerite Duras meets Thomas Pynchon"

    If books could mate and produce offspring, this novel would be the child of Thomas Pynchon and Marguerite Duras, with a healthy gene-splicing of Freud thrown in for good measure. It’s been a long time since I read a novel that left me feeling simultaneously elated—for its brilliance—and disturbed (in a good way)—because of the issues it explores. Not since The Ravishing of Lol Stein (Duras) have a I read a novel that so beautifully and almost seamlessly incorporates psychoanalytic theory. Whereas Duras focuses on female (or feminine) sexuality, however, Julavitz’s concern is with mothers, and their vexed relationships to their children, particularly their daughters. I admit I had to listen to it several times to “get” everything, because it is complex and layered, and if you drift off for a moment, you may miss a crucial detail. Several reviews that I have read call it an academic satire, and certainly that is one of the layers, but it is so much more than that. I would even go so far as to say that, of all the books I have listened to since I became an audible member, this has been the most challenging and one of the most rewarding. Thank you, Heidi Julavitz.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorian Hope Mills, NC, United States 04-04-12
    Dorian Hope Mills, NC, United States 04-04-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Yawn..."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who like long, boring, and overly analytical stories that go around in circles will love this one.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Heidi Julavits again?

    I don't know.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Xe Sands’s performances?

    I did not enjoy the quiet, whiny voice. If this is how she always sounds, no I won't be listening again. I'm hoping this was just part of the acting.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Vanishers?

    everything in the middle...yawn


    Any additional comments?

    No, I've spent too much time on this book already. The only reason why I'm responding now is to perhaps save others from wasting time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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