Reviews of Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach

Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance

A Novel

by Alison Espach

Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach X
Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2022, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Liv Pasquarelli
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From Alison Espach, author of the New York Times Editor's Choice novel The Adults, comes a dazzlingly unconventional love story for readers of Ask Again, Yes and Tell the Wolves I'm Home.

For much of her life, Sally Holt has been mystified by the things her older sister, Kathy, seems to have been born knowing. Kathy has answers for all of Sally's questions about life, about love, and about Billy Barnes, a rising senior and local basketball star who mans the concession stand at the town pool. The girls have been fascinated by Billy ever since he jumped off the roof in elementary school, but Billy has never shown much interest in them until the summer before Sally begins eighth grade. By then, their mutual infatuation with Billy is one of the few things the increasingly different sisters have in common. Sally spends much of that summer at the pool, watching in confusion and excitement as her sister falls deeper in love with Billy―until a tragedy leaves Sally's life forever intertwined with his.

Opening in the early nineties and charting almost two decades of shared history and missed connections, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance is both a breathtaking love story about two broken people who are unexplainably, inconveniently drawn to each other and a wryly astute coming-of-age tale brimming with unexpected moments of joy.

THE STATE OF THE UNION, 1998

You disappeared on a school night. Nobody was more surprised by this than me. If I believed in anything when I was thirteen, I believed in the promise of school nights. I believed in the sacred ritual of homework, then dinner, and then the laying out of our clothes for the next morning—something Mom insisted on from the very beginning.

Mom said it was important to wake up having made the decision about what to wear. So, each night, we made the decision. We brushed our teeth. We stared at each other in the mirror as the foam built and built in our mouths, and eventually one of us would speak. "Hello," you'd say, and this would be so funny for some reason that I can't understand now. You would start laughing, a loud burst of confetti out your mouth—and so I would start laughing, an ugly inward sucking sound that always made Mom run into a room and say, "Sally, are you okay?" which made us laugh even harder.

"She's just laughing, Mom," you said.

We got...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance probes the void left behind after a loved one dies. The author's words never wince and they never look away. Sally's voice develops as she grows older, her vocabulary matures with her, and her astute observations on the world paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Alison Espach writes beautifully with spare language that keeps the reader immersed in the story. She writes the way a younger sister writes to her older sister, the way someone writes to the person they love most in the world...continued

Full Review Members Only (646 words).

(Reviewed by Liv Pasquarelli).

Media Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
A marvelous exercise in voice…Never contrived, the novel is beautifully written, making even the quotidian details of Sally's life fascinating, in part because the story invites such a deep emotional involvement with the fully realized characters and, indeed, with the entirety of this splendid and memorable book.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[I]nventive and powerful...Espach captures the minutiae of love and loss with unflinching clarity and profound compassion, and pulls off the second-person point of view unusually well. Readers will be deeply moved."

Kirkus Reviews
This tragicomic bildungsroman in the shadow of loss will invade your heart and hold on tight.

Author Blurb Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had
"Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance is heartbreaking and funny, often in the same sentence—a deeply felt, finely wrought, and highly satisfying novel. Alison Espach has created a family whose every sorrow, joy, and idiosyncrasy is utterly, vibrantly real.

Author Blurb Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
Oh how I loved this novel! Alison Espach masterfully examines the effects of devastating loss with enormous wit, charm, and intelligence. This is truly a novel like no other.

Author Blurb Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen
Unputdownable, insightful, funny, and emotionally profound. A book that swirls and glitters with strangeness and delight, as much a portrait of grief as a love story, both love and grief hinging on the ways we negotiate with things we cannot control, how we sit in the cockpit of the self, what we dare to share with others and what remains ineffable. Gorgeous.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Bonding Over Shared Trauma

People comforting each other in group therapyIn Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach, main characters Sally and Billy form an unbreakable bond after they both witness the death of Sally's older sister Kathy, who is Billy's girlfriend. Research on shared traumatic experiences shows a clear pattern in which people who have endured the same trauma often have a strong magnetic bond, despite the popular notion that shared grief tears love apart.

It's important to first understand the difference between the psychological concept of trauma bonding and the relationship between people who have shared traumatic experiences. Trauma bonding is a bond formed between an abuser and the abused. This is also commonly known as Stockholm Syndrome.

The bond over a shared traumatic ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance, try these:

  • What Comes After jacket

    What Comes After

    by JoAnne Tompkins

    Published 2022

    About this book

    After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys' families - a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.

  • Yolk jacket

    Yolk

    by Mary Choi

    Published 2022

    About this book

    From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they'll go to save one of their lives - even if it means swapping identities.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.25 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting
    by Clare Pooley
    For the many years that I've been reading, one realization has always come to mind for me after ...
  • Book Jacket: We Had to Remove This Post
    We Had to Remove This Post
    by Hanna Bervoets
    It's not about money. Kayleigh, the protagonist and narrator of We Had to Remove This Post, a newly ...
  • Book Jacket: River of the Gods
    River of the Gods
    by Candice Millard
    The Nile River has provided vital resources for millennia, serving as a source of water, food and ...
  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Geraldine Brooks creates a powerful backstory for 19th-century thoroughbred racehorse Lexington, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Hamnet
by Maggie O'Farrell
"Of all the stories...about Shakespeare’s life, [Hamnet] is so gorgeously written that it transports you."
The Boston Globe

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    One's Company
    by Ashley Hutson

    For readers of Ottessa Moshfegh this fearless debut chronicles one woman's escape into a world of obsessive imagination.

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden
    by Zhuqing Li

    A beautifully woven family memoir that coalesces into a vivid history of two very different Chinas.

Win This Book!
Win Where the Crawdads Sing

Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing

In celebration of the movie release on July 15, we have three signed copies to give away.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T O Thing W H T F I F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.