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How serendipitous – I return from my own blogging disappearance to share my thoughts on the debut novel, THE ART OF DISAPPEARING.
My own disappearance is nothing like in the novel – I didn’t travel to another dimension or get lost in a hidden pocket of space or have a spur-of-the-moment wedding in Vegas (though I think my mom wondered when I called her quite late from the Caribbean!)… But we are not Toby and Mel.
Toby Warring and Mel Snow have a relationship that began unconventionally – having met in a desolate diner in a small town in Nevada, just outside the circle of the Vegas lights then married within 48 hours upon arrival in Sin City (sober, I’m compelled to add). Toby is not merely a magician who pulls rabbits out of hats, but has the ability to create his own magic not relying on illusions and tricks of the eye. Mel accepts Toby’s abilities/magic without reluctance (I’m a big fan of magic myself, but this was more than mind tricks and into the realm of paranormal – I would definitely have been a little more freaked out about his abilities – except white wine to red and vice versa sounds fun).
The paranormal comes from more than just Toby’s abilities. Though he has no malicious intent (no black magic here), he doesn’t always have control over his abilities. Most notably, he lost his past assistant and girlfriend Eva in the middle of a magic trick. Though Mel’s career seems more grounded in reality (less “woo woo,” as Catherine Coulter would say), she can hear fabrics sing to her.
A little odd right? A magician with real abilities and a consultant who can hear fabrics sing. A story that may have unraveled or gone up in smoke (lame puns intended), debut author Ivy Pochoda has a way with words that keeps the story moving. She lyrically and poetically describes magic in a way that makes this novel less “woo woo” (as Catherine Coulter would say) and crafts into a love story grounded in reality… if you’re willing to bend your imagination to contend with hidden “pockets” in the air, into which people and objects magically appear and also hide.
I think the characters were drawn together over shared loneliness. Both were haunted by happenings in their past – Toby his missing assistant along with the tragedy that happened in Vegas, and Mel with her brother that feel too deeply in love with water. I wanted more between the characters – it never clicked to me as to why they were together; what compelled them to love the other. And maybe that’s why it ended the way it did (I don’t want to ruin anything – read it yourself!) – because it was more a relationship of timing and the shared need to shed loneliness than a real partnership
I’m thrilled that TLC Book Tours introduced me to the writing of Ivy Pochoda – Marilyn Dahl of Shelf Awareness says it best with “Ivy Pochoda has written a lyrical novel that will enchant you with a love story and with poetic, evocative prose.”