The Disapparation of James by Anne Ursu

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From the highly praised author of Spilling Clarence, a luminous novel about the joy of family and the perils of loving.

The Woodrow family is going to the circus to celebrate Greta's seventh birthday. When five-year-old brother James eagerly volunteers to join the magic act, his parents watch with pride as he climbs onto the stage alongside the clown. The trick is spectacular and applause rings through the crowd as James disappears--vanishing before their very eyes. The trouble is, James really did disappear . . . into thin air.

In the aftermath of James's disappearance, with the police investigation providing no clues, the laws of the universe come into question. His mother becomes lost in her dreams and his father becomes obsessed with the clown, while his big sister Greta sets out to figure out what happened.

A novel peppered with dreams, premonitions, and possible realities, The Disapparation of James is a work of enormous sensitivity, tenderness, and wit.

About Anne Ursu

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Anne Ursu is the author of Breadcrumbs, which Kirkus Reviews called a "transforming testament to the power of friendship" in a starred review, and was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly,, and the Chicago Public Library. It was also on the IndieBound Next List and was an NPR Backseat Book Club featured selection. She was also the recipient of the 2013 McKnight Fellowship Award in Children's Literature. Anne teaches at Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Minneapolis with her son and three cats--monster fighters, all.
Published January 8, 2003 by Hyperion. 288 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Disapparation of James

Kirkus Reviews

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Mike asks for volunteers and five-year-old James runs up to the stage, where Mike makes him disappear—but not come back.

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Publishers Weekly

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Alternative realities and parallel plot lines coexist in Ursu's surreal but psychologically acute second novel (after Spilling Clarence), in which a boy chosen from a circus audience to disappear during a clown's magic act really does disappear.

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Star Tribune

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Review: With the matter-of-fact ease of a master fabulist, Ursu plays out all the consequences of her novel's fantastical premise, crafting a deft, character-driven narrative about a family thrown into crisis by a child's mysterious disappearance.

Jan 11 2003 | Read Full Review of The Disapparation of James

Entertainment Weekly

Ursu gently teases out the tale of a close-knit family whose youngest child, James, vanishes into thin air -- literally.

Jan 24 2003 | Read Full Review of The Disapparation of James

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