To be honest I really am at crossroads with this book. On one hand I definitely can’t say I disliked it but on the other hand – with the exception of one chapter and the last paragraph – I wasn’t absorbed either. For a 156 page novel it also took a while for me to read, which I found strange. I just couldn’t really engage myself.
An unnamed Guyanese/African engineer moves to a coastline English village in order to build a breaker as the sea is slowly eating everything away and houses are collapsing. As this is a short-term project he moves in with Janet Rutherford, a woman who has a reputation amongst the townspeople. The engineer does discover that she does have a bit of a past and her lovers also reveal some things about her and the workplace where the engineer is stated.
Really though the plot is superfluous , What Disappearance is really about is the notion of race amongst the British population. The engineer is clearly an outsider in England but due to his education does not fit in well with his own people either. However Mrs. Rutherford also has issues as the majority of the villagers hate her as she finds English culture boring but during her sojourn to Africa she couldn’t really blend in and ended up teaching British history to African children. The third ‘alien’ character is the Irishman Christie who accentuates his Irishness as a sign of individuality and although he is accepted by the villagers, he ends up going slightly mad due to this.
By the end of the novel all characters live on and survive, which is the only solution really.
I already gave my views in the first paragraph so I won’t go into them again but I do feel that there is something a bit lacking – does anyone share this view??