Ways to Disappear
By Idra Novey
Little, Brown and Company, 2016
Ways to Disappear is about a Brazilian author, Beatriz Yagoda, who goes missing in a tree. Emma, Beatriz’s American translator, travels from Pittsburgh to Salvador to help Beatrice’s children, and her publisher, find the author, who was not found in said tree. Told in short snappy chapters, the search for Beatriz leads to an unlikely series of events and discoveries, including that Beatriz had a lot of debt from gambling.
The author, Idra Novey is an American writer and poet who has translated Clarice Lispector. I love Lispector, a Brazilian author. For those of you who do not know her, she is a master of the absurd, quirky short story. Ways to Disappear feels almost like an homage to Lispector, while being distinctly the work of another writer.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I enjoyed this book as much for its writing and language as for the story. Novey’s love of language infuses the book. And there is a meta-layer to the story as Novey is a translator writing about a translator and her relationship with a missing author. If you’re looking for a different kind of novel, with beautiful language, this is a great one to pick up.
Novey teaches writing in the New York area and has also published books of poetry.