Die Kunst Des Verschwindens (The Art Of Disappearing)  |  Melanie Raabe

Books | Review

fiction | books by women | german literature | contemporary

Fist published 2022

Book cover of Die Kunst Des Verschwindens lying on blue material

Nico is a photographer who lives in Berlin and leads a relatively quiet life. Her photography studio keeps her busy, and she has a close group of friends who hang out together a lot. When Nico was young, she was one of the few survivors of a boat accident in which her mother drowned. Since then, Nico has been searching for the answers to some questions, especially about the necklace with the hummingbird pendant that her mother "lost" the night she died.

Ellen is a world-famous actor, who is returning to Berlin for the New Year, to attend the premiere of her latest film, and to visit her best friend, Anthony. As her plane lands in Berlin, a sense of dread fills Ellen's head and she receives a phone call informing her that Anthony has died while her plane was flying over the Atlantic Ocean. There is also another reason for Ellen's return to Berlin and a very specific reason why she has rented the Airbnb across from Nico's apartment.

The two women's paths finally cross and a dramatic series of events slowly unfolds. Ellen hosts a New Year's Eve party and invites Nico. The next day, Ellen disappears and Nico decides to track her down. Her search takes her to Bruge, Paris and finally to northern France, where Ellen explains her reasons for renting the Airbnb opposite Nico's apartment in Berlin. She met Nico's mother the night she died, and her mother stopped Ellen from taking her own life. Meeting Nico's mother changed Ellen's life and set her on the path to superstardom. But the price of fame is too much for Ellen, and after a superfan kills himself in front of her, she decides to disappear and never be found.

My Verdict: Another book in German! Yay for me! The premise of this book was very interesting, especially the price of fame and the sacrifices to privacy that being a superstar entails, but then it really felt like Melanie Raabe was trying to fit in far too many themes, such as the environmental impact of humans when 3 whales are found washed up on a beach when they are in France together. Some threads are not followed through to a satisfactory conclusion and this was quite frustrating and left me wondering why certain characters were even included in the story. Overall, this was an exciting book, but not my favourite by any means.

Review Award | 3.5/5

Posted 02.05.2023

blog and books logo, white spiral on grey background
instagram logo, black outline