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Ways To Disappear, Idra Novey, Little Brown and Company, 2016, 258 pp
This little novel was a pleasant surprise. I read it because Idra Novey is a translator of books from Spanish and Portuguese into English and I had read that the story involves a translator. That turns out to be Emma, the main character.
The tale opens with the disappearance of Emma's Brazilian author, Beatriz Yogoda. This author wrote stunning novels but was a bad mother, addicted to gambling. Her debts have caught up with her and an unsavory moneylender is after her.
Beatriz climbed into an almond tree carrying a suitcase, smoking a cigar, and vanished. I loved her already. This makes two books in a row about a vanished, missing person and Emma's quest to find her requires courage she doesn't have, just as Meg's search for her father did in A Wrinkle in Time.
Emma lives in Pittsburgh with a boring boyfriend who wants to marry her. In truth, she is rather spiritually married to the eccentric and imaginative Beatriz, whose novels she has been translating for a few years. Nor does Emma have any supernatural beings to help her though there is Beatriz's washed up editor, a man with deep pockets and deep regrets that his publishing house must put out only bestseller trash to remain solvent.
For the sexy parts, we have Beatriz's hot and sensual son who seduces Emma as he helps her look for the vanished author in hot steamy Rio de Janeiro. The story reads like a noir thriller but has those insider publishing/translating sections. It is also hilarious despite all the danger surrounding Emma's desperate search. The writing is brilliant. The ending is perfect.
(Ways To Disappear is available in hardcover or paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)