Blog Tour: How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann

Imagine growing up with a twin sister who you idolized and one day, at 11 years old, she’s no longer there. Simply vanished, run away and never returned. There’s no death, in which to seek closure. The thought of her being out there somewhere is ever present as you are forced to continue you life. For Elisabeth Pfauts, living in Tanacross, Alaska in 1941 this is reality. She sees the invisible presence of her sister in her daughter, Margaret. Having an unbreakable and incredibly strong bond with her sister, she’s never given up hope. 

When Alfred, a German pilot, lands unexpectantly in Tanacross, he quickly befriends Elizabeth, who feels a moral obligation to extend hospitality to this gentleman, welcoming him into her family’s home. Something about this guy seems a bit off, but she dismisses it as the general uneasiness of having a stranger in her home while her husband is away for work. Alfred soon commits an inexplicable act of violence, followed by a starling revelation: he knows what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but will only reveal the truth if she fulfills three requests. 

Immediately filled with doubt, but the glimmer of hope of at last knowing what happened to her sister she’s feels a strong urge to play along. After all, Alfred has just validated her feelings of her sister really is still out there. How far is she willing to go to find out what happened? Is it worth potentially ripping apart her family? How can she trust the stranger who’s already committed a most handouts act?

How Quickly She Disappears has been compared to Silence of the Lambs. The comparison is very fair. However, personally, my only qualm with this novel is it seemed to be a bit too derivative of it. I don’t want that to take away from this being a great novel in its own right, but I would have appreciate a greater variation from Hannibal Lectar. 

Beginning with the unsettling arrival of the pilot and ending with his and Elisabeth’s final confrontation in the woods, the evolution of their creepy cat-and-mouse game will captivate through the last page.

Giveaway

I’m honored to be featured on a blog tour of this amazing novel on its publication day! To help celebrate this book I’ve partnered with its publisher , Berkley, to host a giveaway of How Quickly She Disappears. This giveaway is running on my Instagram from Jan 14 – Jan 21. Be sure to enter and good luck!


A Conversation with Raymond Fleischmann

(From the publisher)

What are the main themes of the novel?

I’ve always been attracted to characters who do bad things for good reasons – or at least, what they think are good reasons. I like writing about characters who are at once intelligent but reckless, thoughtful but neurotic, will-intentioned but misguided. Theme comes from character, and from the writer’s own subconscious, and although it’s always difficult to generalize what a story is “about,” I’d say that this novel explores themes of isolation, loneliness, displacement, paranoia, obsession, and grief. 

The first scene you wrote was one of a man lashed to a meat cache in Alaska. How did that image come to you? How did the story unfold from there?

With any story I’m writing, whether it’s a short story or a novel, I tend to imagine scenes for days or even weeks before I put a single word on the page. And that was how this novel began: I thought about it nonstop for days, but I didn’t write at all. I thought about its characters and their various motivations, which in turn made me think about potential scenes. And I knew that this scene in the meat cache would be the climax of the novel’s first section. It just had so much natural tension and intrigue to it, and even the setting itself felt evocative and interesting: the smell of the cured meat, the light slipping between the slats of the cache, this wide-eyed dangerous man restrained to a chair. The scene felt so clear to me that the rest of the first section fell into place quite easily around it. From the first draft of the novel to the final draft, the first section of the book is the most unchanged, and I think it’s due in large part to the groundwork laid intuit scene in the cache. 

What do you want readers to take away from the novel?

I hope that my work strikes a chord with people in the same way that the novels of Flynn Berry and Ottessa Moshfegh have struck a chord with me: I hope that readers find my book to be exciting, interesting, and compulsively readable, while also finding it to be a thoughtful meditation on family, loneliness, grief, and obsession. I hope that my novel is fluid and entertaining, certainly, but as much as that I hope that readers find it to be emotionally rewarding and introspective. 

The Art of Remembering Unfolds a Beautiful Story

5 Stars!

It’s always intrigued me what attaches itself to memory. How a smell can take you back to a time long before, in technicolor detail. For professional ballerina, Ailsa MacIntyre, the ivory keys of a grand piano coming from the apartment downstairs while she’s recuperating from a tragic accident ignites a memory of who she used to be.

In Alison Ragsdale’s The Art of Remembering, she introduces us to Ailsa. Ailsa had it all. Life was going blissfully with a loving husband, Evan, and career as a principal dancer until she was devastated by a tragedy of a diagnosis. When she emerges from a life-saving surgery her memory isn’t what it was before.

When the sound of the grand piano reignites her passion, the broken pieces of her life reassemble and what she sees isn’t the picturesque vision of life she knew before. Evan seems to be more focused on her career than being the nurturing husband he should be. Ailsa must navigate the conflicting visions of her past, and potential future as they collide.

This was my first Alison Ragsdale novel I’ve read. Her storytelling is vivid and her character development is phenomenal. This story was one that really stays with you. I highly recommend this book!

I want to express a grateful thank you to Kate Rock Book Tours for allowing me the great pleasure of participating and to Alison Ragsdale for writing such a wonderful novel.

Please visit my Facebook/Instagram for a chance to win a digital copy of The Art of Remembering.

Lyndsay Faye Dazzles with The Paragon Hotel

Two copies of Lyndsay Faye's novel The Paragon Hotel.
4 brilliant stars to Lyndsay Faye’s The Paragon Hotel!

Alice “No Body” James wants to get as far away as she can from Harlem, she finds herself on a Pullman car with two bullet wounds  straight through her chest, headed for Oregon in 1921. “No Body” is a nickname for her capacity to hide in plain sight. Which I think a lot of us can relate to in some aspect, but “No Body” is whoever you want her to be- or rather, whoever she feels she needs to be. On this Pullman car, she meets Max, who takes her immediately to the only hotel in Portland that accepts people of color. While Alice isn’t black, it’s clear she doesn’t fancy herself for a normal doctor. Max takes her to The Paragon Hotel where she meets and quickly befriends a resident, cabaret singer, and the ever so eloquent Blossom Fontaine. 

Blossom is my favorite character and I could listen to her talk in her whimsical and witty way forever. Blossom has had the opposite experience of Alice, she has at least as many secrets as Alice.  However, Blossoms’ secrets are the kind where she has to be relentlessly herself and defend it in a way where her persona does not waiver, but remain fixed always. 

The novel is a double-helix storyline of Alice and Blossom’s friendship at The Paragon Hotel and Harlem, where Alice finds herself in the middle of feuds between the five families of the Italian American Mafia. The story unwinds to reveal an ending that reminds us things aren’t always as they seem and illustrates the depths that we will go to keep others from finding out our secret. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Lyndsay Faye at novel., one of my favorite booksellers in Memphis. To celebrate the launch of Dustjacket Reviews, I had Lyndsay autograph two copies of The Paragon Hotel to giveaway. There are two chances to win: one copy will be given away on Instagram and the other will given away on Facebook. This giveaway is open to US residents only. This contest is open Jan 15 to Jan 25 midnight (CST). The winner will be announced on Saturday, Jan 26. Thanks for reading and following on social media.