I wish to remain vanishing
May 15, 2016 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Novel suggestions, please, for a potential project. Im looking for novels on the theme of people who choose to disappear and start a new life. They could be the protagonist, or someone else in the book whose disappearance drives the story. Lilia in Emily St John Mandel's 'Last Night In Montreal' and Kathryn Carlyle in Rupert Thomson's ah, 'Kathryn Carlyle' are perfect examples.
posted by reynir to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato.
posted by headnsouth at 1:12 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Big Picture by Douglas Kennedy
posted by MoonOrb at 1:15 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, Nabokov's "Pale Fire" involves this, although it also involves an extremely unreliable narrator.


Spoiler Alert

"The Emperor's Children" involves this with a main character, although it happens in the last part of the book.
posted by permiechickie at 1:16 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can't link but Gaining Ground, also published as Abra, by Joan Barfoot
posted by runincircles at 1:39 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anne Tyler's Ladder of Years
posted by cadge at 1:43 PM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle, I think? (Fuzzy memory.)
posted by jojobobo at 1:49 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Richard Wright's "The Outsider."
posted by Melismata at 1:57 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


"The Emperor's Children" involves this with a main character, although it happens in the last part of the book.

Though no one should subject themselves to that book.

The trope also plays a role in Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
posted by praemunire at 2:02 PM on May 15, 2016


Thomas Perry's Jane Whitefield series is about a woman who helps people disappear, so more on the nuts and bolts side of things.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:03 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


These are all great, thank you - please keep them coming if you read this and have any more.
posted by reynir at 2:04 PM on May 15, 2016




Is nonfiction OK? She Left Me The Gun by Emma Brockes, about her mother, who survived horrific abuse at the hands of her father, did her best to try to save her 7 younger siblings, and when her father was acquitted of the charges brought against him, decided to leave and start a new life in another country. She succeeded.
posted by fraula at 2:22 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Flitcraft Parable from Hammett's The Maltese Falcon
posted by chavenet at 2:54 PM on May 15, 2016


Spoiler alert!





Gone Girl
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:21 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
and a minor-ish plot point at the end of One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:25 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Morris West's Vanishing Point, which I found quite powerful and moving (if that is not a tautology).
posted by GeeEmm at 4:01 PM on May 15, 2016


Jonathon Coleman's Exit The Rainmaker is another
posted by yclipse at 4:52 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dana Spiotta's Eat the Document got really good reviews -- I haven't read it yet but it is in my "to read" pile.

Peter Carey's His Illegal Self is a great book about a boy whose mother takes him when she goes underground.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:55 PM on May 15, 2016




Martin Sloane by Michael Redhill. I love this book.
posted by hepta at 5:11 PM on May 15, 2016


The disappearance of the protagonist's best friend is the framing device for the Neapolitan novels, although it's not necessarily the focus of most of the plot.
posted by eponym at 5:17 PM on May 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Peter Straub, The Throat
posted by infinitewindow at 5:45 PM on May 15, 2016


Vida, which is about a member of the Weather Underground when she's, well, underground.

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy

Unbecoming

This is a pretty common theme in "women's literature" for whatever reason.
posted by lunasol at 5:57 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Partner by John Grisham
posted by metadave at 6:52 PM on May 15, 2016


Mary Higgins Clark's Where are the Children?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:59 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Patron Saint of Liars.
posted by mollywas at 8:16 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


My Russian by Deirdre McNamer is an interesting take on the theme, with a woman "disappearing in plain sight" in her own town.
posted by adastra at 8:42 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland
posted by Durhey at 8:45 PM on May 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Toward Amnesia by Sarah Van Arsdale
posted by LilithSilver at 8:47 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fade to Black - Wendy Corsi Staub
posted by SisterHavana at 8:49 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


A whole lot of Paul Auster's novels involve people disappearing. The New York Trilogy is an excellent place to start.
posted by soi-disant at 2:26 AM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Roger Zelazny's My Name is Legion.
posted by DaveP at 4:14 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


John Irving's A Widow For One Year.
posted by h00py at 7:10 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


In The Keys to the Street by Ruth Rendell, one of the characters has severed ties to his past and become homeless for reasons that are explored in the book. He ends up becoming possibly the most sympathetic character.
posted by BibiRose at 7:50 AM on May 16, 2016


The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith is a great read.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:21 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]




Thank you all so much for taking the time to do this. Thank you for every response - I have a very particular feel/theme in my head, and have made best answer those which fit that best, but you all answered my question and for that I'm very grateful. (And Awaiting Your Reply is another good example I should have given in my question!)
posted by reynir at 2:03 PM on May 16, 2016


Keeping Watch by Laurie R King.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:23 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Caucasia by Danzy Senna.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:24 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler (the eldest child disappears)
posted by kristi at 10:22 AM on May 18, 2016


Purity by Jonathan Franzen
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 11:27 AM on May 23, 2016


« Older Simple sample project for PM Certificate study?   |   Road trip stop along I-84, I-81, Scranton - ish... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.