Novey's novel delivers on its promises in so many ways. Yes, there's carnage, but there's also exuberant love, revelations of long-buried, unhappy secrets, ruminations about what makes a satisfying life, a publisher's regrets about moral compromises in both his work and his use of his family wealth and connections, and an alternately heartfelt and wry portrait of the satisfactions and anxieties of the generally underappreciated art of translation.
Ms. Novey sustains suspense throughout with beautifully restrained prose. Yet her narrative is more than a mystery — it’s about language itself, both the yearning for comprehension and the desire to feel understood.
“Ways to Disappear gallops forward, gracefully bending genres of mystery, romance and noir, while considering philosophical ideas and telling a fun, entertaining story besides. Novey uses a light, sensitive touch and a giddy sense of play to explore weighty concepts. Witty dictionary entries, news clippings and the plots of Yagoda’s stories punctuate the narrative, and two crucial plot points are rendered as poetry.