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Free download Ê The Vanishing of Katharina Linden 102 Guardian'A strange haunting modern fairy tale' John Connolly author of The Book of Lost ThingsThe setting of the small German town of Bad Münstereifel in Helen Grant's debut novel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is based on her own experience of emigrating there from England as a child Her other darkly thrilling young adult novels The Glass Demon and Wish Me Dead are also available from Penguin. I usually listen to audiobooks only when I paint or when I do house chores Well I did not have enough house chores for this one and as I could absolutely not wait to get hours on the following days I ended up listening to it sitting on my couch I have NEVER done this before This is enough to say this is a real page turner you get the idea even if that one was an audiobookA friend of mine asked why I liked it so much It is actually hard to pinpoint apart from the fabulous uality of the writing that keeps you going with excellent handling of suspense Publishers Weekly description of it as a charming horror novel is uite fitting The tone of the book is very peaceful and friendly as Pia the narrator is a 10 year old sweet nice girl The horror comes little by little with what she has to encounter but it is narrated in such a way that it sounds like folk tales than the stuff horror movies are made of And indeed the book is based on Helen Grant s research on folk tales connected to the city where Pia lives a real city where the author herself livedI have not yet read this in any other review about this book so I d underline an interesting theme that seems to me to go along the book ostracization Pia is ostracized by her school mates after what happens to her grand mother and the only friend she is left with is the most ostracized kid of the school his ostracization went so far as giving him a surname With what happens between her own parents Pia feels and isolated from her own family as well Her father is German her mother British and never feels like fitting in this German city When Pia is sent one summer to England the ostracization follows her notably through her mean British cousins There s a lot of ostracization going on in Pia s German city between neighbors with stories going back decades before and focusing especially on one strange character that 2 young heroes seem to finally befriend but do theyI tweeted Helen Grant about this point and here is her replyYes I think your view is spot on This is why Unshockable Hans is so important to the book because he is one of the few people who does not let Pia down I d also have to say that autobiography has an influence on the book I loved living in Bad M but on days when things didn t go so well I REALLY felt like an alien myself PS The original working title of the book was Unshockable Hans tweeted by helengrantsays on Feb 28 2011 My only regret is having been mislead by the American book cover the British one is different with a black cat So all along I was trying to figure out if the cat was oops I will not give you a spoiler The cat does have a role but not as prominent as the book cover would imply Never judge a book by its cover I knowIf you are looking for a good page turner I highly recommend you this book I don t think it s a YA bookHelen Grant has written another book and are coming The exciting part is that she s just 2 years older than me so I ll have lots to read by herFIRST LINEMy life might have been so different had I not been known as the girl whose grandmother exploded And had I not been born in Bad Munstereifel If we had lived in the city well I m not saying the event would have gone unnoticed but the fuss would probably only have lasted a week before public interest moved elsewhere Besides in a city you are anonymous the chances of being picked out as Kristel Kolvenbach s granddaughter would be virtually zero But in a small town well small towns everywhere are rife with gossip but in Germany they raise it to an art formOriginal post Words And Peace

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Free download Ê The Vanishing of Katharina Linden 102 Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal Helen Grant's first teen novel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden follows a misfit teenager as she attempts to unravel the mystery of several strange disappearances in the small town of Bad Münstereifel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden bridges the world of the traditional Grimm fairytale with the darker world of Angela Carter's adult fairytalesOn the day Kathari. With all the hype surrounding the US publication of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden I was eagerly anticipating Helen Grant s debut Sadly the marketing copywriters are doing better work than the actual author and once halfway through the book I found myself impatiently waiting for the completion of a book that was decently written but poorly conceived The publisher would do well to stop likening it to other works because not a single comparison pans out particularly the idea that the narrator here Pia Kolvenbach bears any resemblance whatsoever to the intelligent and delightful Flavia de Luce the creation of Alan Bradley If anything comes close it s the reference to the book having the air of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales but the real fairy tales that are frightening and twisted not the Disney fied versions thank goodness and yet one wishes that the real plotline had enjoyed some of the imagination that the stories suggest rather than simply lacing Pia s perspective with the stories so that she might half wonder if fantastic things really are coming to pass In short everything that I read about the novel beforehand led me to expect something uite different and probably soured my reading experience as a result I found myself a bit annoyed in the beginning because of all this then was pleasantly disposed as I focused on the story but uickly grew annoyed again when the mystery worked itself out to be disappointingly predictable Grant s writing style is acceptable if not particularly noteworthy but had it not been for the author stumbling onto the legends of this particular German town and retelling them here I would have found the whole thing very dull indeed The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is set in the late 1990s and I started the novel feeling surprised as nothing I had read seemed to hint at the modern time period Also surprising was the fact that since the author s European location is hyped I expected a translated work and was a bit thrown by the ridiculous abundance of German words purposely inserted into the English text I feared that this would be the only consistent way to tell that the story was set in Germany and not simply any old European town with a history rich in folklore but there are enough subtle differences of to make this somewhat unfounded and of course there s the occasional awkward reference to Nazis and the war There s a glossary in the back of the book but it s rather unnecessary once one accepts the presence of the liberal scattering of German words Needless to say the author is English and simply moved to the Continent with her family and actually lived in the town where the book is set as a matter of fact but I can t see any townspeople thanking her for putting their location on the map if it s to do with the abduction of little girls Bad M nstereifel is a small German hamlet filled with people who like to gossip and since everyone knows everyone and often knows everything about them for several generations back few things are ever forgotten What our ten year old narrator Pia Kolvenbach would like everyone to forget is the unfortunate incident of her grandmother s demise which involved an Advent wreath a match and an abundance of hairspray As a result Pia is the girl whose grandmother exploded and even if it isn t true she technically died from a heart attack as a result of the surprise of going up in flames at the dining table it s the thing Pia will be known as to the rest of the town s inhabitants particularly the nasty school children After this Pia can only claim to have one friend the class pariah known as StinkStefan and even having this one friend is enough to make Pia depressed if she s sunk so low as to need Stefan s companionship Thankfully Stefan s unfortunate moniker is a result of his tendency to linger like a bad smell rather than from any odor emanating from his personage Pia herself is the daughter of a German man and an English woman a first of two progeny from very tense marriage that is clearly heading for divorce from the get go Side note they re also terrible parents Pia s little brother is a baby and given little attention from the narrator Neither parent seems to make any attempt to connect with their first born and the entirety of their parental concern is expressed in forbidding Pia to go places so she can be safe in the houseWell if gossip is what the town wants then that s certainly what it gets Katharina Linden a little girl nearly the same age as Pia disappears in the middle of a town holiday celebration where children dressed in costume The little girl dressed as Snow White simply vanished without a trace and the town can find no sign of her Immediately the other children in town feel the repercussions as parents go into overdrive to keep their children indoors and away from whoever or whatever snatched up Katharina Linden Pia and Stefan are about as interested as anyone in the missing girl and mention as much to their elderly friend Herr Schiller a kindly grandfather figure who Pia used to visit with her grandmother and now continues to visit on her own and with Stefan The allure of Herr Schiller rests in the fact that he treats children like intelligent beings and has a never ending supply of stories derived from the fantastic folklore of the area Unfortunately Herr Schiller only seems tired when they try to discuss Katharina s disappearance and then the children learn that this is due to the fact that Herr Schiller once had a daughter named Gertrud who disappeared years ago in another instance where young girls went missing The town is inclined to point its finger towards local recluse Herr D ster Herr Schiller s estranged brother Frau Kessel one of the old women in the town with a reputation for knowing everything tells Pia and Stefan that in their youth both brothers fought over the same woman and Herr Schiller won only to have her die of illness during the war and then have his daughter stolen and murdered by a jealous brother Of course this is just her suspicion but in a town where gossip is enough to condemn you it was only the fact that Herr Schiller did not give credit to this theory that kept Herr D ster from real blame Three girls went missing then and girls will go missing in the present time before Pia and Stefan ultimately play a role in solving the mystery At least the author is not unaware of the danger facing young children as they attempt to solve a crime and adults aren t always as inept as they can sometimes be depicted Herr Schiller continues to scare the daylights out of Pia and Stefan with his wonderful stories which are indeed uite interesting and the kids try to survive school and their home lives turning to the mystery as a thing that they can work on together At one point in the novel Pia is sent off to spend part of the summer with her grandmother in England enduring cruel cousins and intense boredom before she starts realizing that perhaps this trip wasn t just to keep her safe from whatever is snatching children in her hometown but perhaps the move might be permanent as her parents continue to feud Ultimately while I was disappointed with the novel as a whole there were elements of Grant s writing that I enjoyed and I hope will serve as the cornerstones of her future work so she might improve though if she continues to write books with this mystery edge to them I m not sure I ll bother much as the uestion of who or what kidnapped the little girls was easy for the reader to decipher from the beginning I also like the fact that the story is essentially told by Pia looking back on this time of her life with a few years worth of distance so that occasionally she might note things she hadn t realized at the time mostly dealing with the motivations of adults that don t make sense to children Of course what I particularly liked about this was the fact that adult Pia didn t feel the need to necessarily spell these things out In all I wasn t delighted with The Vanishing of Katharina Linden but I did see some promise in Helen Grant that I hope stretches beyond the creativity of the folklore that was the truly delightful part of this novel to carry her through the next few novels that Delacorte eagerly snapped up according to the ARC

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Free download Ê The Vanishing of Katharina Linden 102 Na Linden disappears Pia is the last person to see her Terror is spreading through the town How could a ten year old girl vanish in a place where everybody knows everybody elsePia is determined to find out what happened to KatharinaBut then the next girl disappears'For something so chilling it is terrific entertainment' Sunday Times'Grant's splendid debutis a feast of treats and creeps Wonderful'. Ten year old Pia Kolvenbach is known at school as the girl whose grandmother blew up Far from showing any sympathy to a girl whose Oma died on Christmas Day Pia endures taunts and the sudden absence of her friends The only person in her class brave enough to sit next to her in case it s catching is StinkStefan himself the most unpopular boy Pia becomes friends with him by dint of him following her around and because there s no one elseWhen Katharina Linden goes missing at Karneval just vanishes it seems there one minute gone the next Pia hopes that the gossipy small town of Bad M nstereifel will finally have something new to talk about Unfortunately not Not even when a second and then a third little girl vanishes does Pia cease to be ridiculed by her classmates But she s got important things to think about now she and StinkStefan have their own theories about the missing girls partly inspired by the scary stories old Herr Schiller tells them over incredibly thick strong coffee As the two children embark on their own investigation they draw ever closer to the adult world as they stumble innocently onto the truthGrant is originally British lived for a time in Bad M nstereifel and now lives in Brussels Belgium I don t know that I took Pia s mother to be representative of Grant but I could definitely see her sympathising and being able to write the character and her growing pissed off edness uite easily With Pia looking on slow to understand the arguments between her German father and English mother her mother s growing hatred for this small town the small minded gossip and the growing danger that her own daughter could very well be next it all felt very real I wanted to read a born and bred German author for this challenge but I had recently heard about this book through Alex and really wanted to read it without looking into where the author was from I have mixed feelings about this book On the one hand I thought it was very finely written with an interesting mix of old and new blending history and gothic horror stories with a realistic family life On the other hand I had trouble with the prose itself it s articulate it s intelligent it s very fine but this relatively short novel took me uite a while to read because I couldn t sink into it There was always this short brick wall between me and it that I stumbled against or a strong hand pushing against my chest holding me back from connecting with it It s one of those cases where an author s style just didn t click with your brain it happensI still enjoyed the book but part of the problem was Pia I don t know whether it s just the way she s written or because she s ten and then eleven but I struggled with her narrative voice Pia is telling the story as an older teen about 17 looking back on this time in her life so you can forgive the mature narration for that fact The scattering of German words throughout is explained at the very end when the older Pia mentions that she can t remember much German any only odd words and phrases I found this to be incredibly sad for Pia I didn t realise there was a glossary at the back until I was halfway through because it was buried under sample chapters from her new book that looked to be the end of this one and I don t read the end of a book first ever that would have been helpful to know about earlierThe book is set in 1999 before mobile phones and the internet as in before the internet was what it is today back then there was very little on it and it was pretty useless and with the uaint setting with its old world charm and all the old ghost stories it has the feel of an older place an older story When Pia leaves Germany for a summer holiday visit with her gran in Middlesex England it s almost like a jolt it s easy to forget that while all this is going on in Bad M nstereifel the rest of the world is still out there and it s a different place in many ways The town an old historic spa town that looks very picturesue I looked it up is very much a character in its own right one that Pia feels very attached to even if she hates that everyone knows each other and each other s business Which leads me to gossip gossip is a character too perhaps captured best by Frau Kessel the biggest busybody of all the busybodies who takes a kind of cruel pleasure in knowing everything and being able to dangle things in front of people But she s not the only old biddy spy in the town In fact this is a story between the children in the town and the old people The past clashing with the present The young adults the parents anyone else they re barely present remaining on the periphery of the action It is very much a world seen through the eyes of a childThis is also a kind of gothic horror novel Sprinkled with juicy ghost stories told to Pia and Stefan by their 80 year old friend Herr Schiller it also has something of a nail biting climax It s a lengthy detailed ending that got a bit too long and overly detailed and while I could totally understand eleven year old Pia s inability to reconcile her understanding of a person with a new truth she did get annoyingly dense and behaved increasingly foolish I think that captures my problem with Pia I never really felt like I knew her or understood her so I wasn t very sympathetic towards her behaviour I would sometimes forget she was a child because of the sophisticated prose and then be jarringly reminded by her childish reactions or self absorbed dismissal of others Because Pia narrates it got confusingThe ending was unsatisfactory in another sense it wraps up fairly uickly after the climax which is fine but like the selfish younger Pia older Pia tells us nothing about Stefan whether she still talks to him or what and we don t know anything about her father or her mother and brother or how it s going in England all things that would have helped solidify Pia s character and helped with context And my curiosity After all why write a mystery and then leave readers hanging on such simple uestionsThe Vanishing of Katharina Linden isn t really about little girls disappearing or crime or mystery or acting detective It s a coming of age story than anything else a story of being a child in a town of mystery ghosts and a poorly buried past It has atmosphere but where it lost me was in the sense of the tourist Because Grant isn t a native German there s always to explain the German way Helpful yes but it also came across as a bit condescending I could explain it away by reminding myself again that Pia is narrating this from England where she s been living in the interim but you don t know that until the end and it doesn t change the fact that reading this made me feel like a tourist I wanted to vicariously visit Germany yes but not have attention drawn to that factSo like I said I have mixed feelings about this book Do I recommend it Sure especially if you like stories about child sleuths or nosy would be sleuths as the case is and ghost stories If you like murder mysteries that are clever and unpredictable this probably won t satisfy you it doesn t bother with that side of things since a whodunnit is secondary to Pia s personal story But if nothing else it brought to life a small old town in the mountains of Germany and I would very much like to see it

  • Paperback
  • 343
  • The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
  • Helen Grant
  • English
  • 05 March 2019
  • 9780141325736