The Vanishing Moment – book review

The Vanishing Moment book

Beautifully written and heart-wrenching, The Vanishing Moment by Margaret Wild is not a book to be overlooked.

Arrow has finished high school, but she doesn’t know what to do with her life. Ever since that terrifying and heartbreaking tragedy, Arrow has been haunted by the memories of her past and struggles to move on.

Marika grieves for what she’s lost and she thinks it will be impossible to ever live a normal life again and stop blaming herself for what has happened.

These two girls are finding it hard to move on with their lives and put the past behind them. But when they encounter a man with the answers to their questions, they are tempted by a possible way out. They must ask themselves a question: If you could swap lives with a different version of yourself, would you?

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was different to what I imagined, and even better than what I had hoped. Perhaps it’s bad of me to judge a book by the thickness, or thinness in this case, before I even read the first page. I picked up this book, flicked to the end page and looked at the number of pages. 184. 184 pages? That’s it!? I had doubts about this book. How would I be able to feel connected to the characters in just 184 pages? Will there be a proper ending to this book? Can this book progress smoothly and not seem rushed? This book exceeded my expectations and ended up being a very pleasurable read.
This book alternated between three characters – Bob, Arrow and Marika. Unlike some books, I never wanted to skip ahead because all three characters were unique and had their own stories to tell. At the start of the book, I was a little confused as to where the story was heading. For the first half of the book, Arrow and Marika were just doing their own things and trying to deal with their problems. I knew that all three characters had to come together at some stage during the book and I was mainly waiting for that moment. Although some of the things Arrow and Marika did were not really remarkable, seeing them try to deal with the problems in their lives was interesting enough. However, if the whole book were like that, I wouldn’t have kept reading. It was attention-grabbing just enough in the beginning to make me keep reading. The main thing I wondered about was Bob. Who was he? Why does the chapters revolving around him always start with This he remembers? Why do his chapters have to be so short? Although his chapters were very short, they were intriguing. I learn a lot about his personality and his life. Bob was so fascinating and I longed for answers to my questions. Towards the end of the book, I finally got the answers I was looking for and everything fit together nicely.
Arrow and Marika were both very interesting character. Arrow was described as a lazy girl who prefers to stay at home than do anything substantial. She’s taking a gap year, however she rarely sees her friends or makes time to go out into the world. I was curious to know why she’s like this and for a good part of the novel we’re left clueless about this. Arrow and her family used to live in a place called Shelly Beach until something terrifying happened to the family of Arrow’s best friends from childhood. Arrow and her family retreated to Sydney to forget about the horrors of the place they once called home. But Arrow can’t ever forget what happened and she still remembers the voice that whispered, “I can interchange, Arrow. Shall I?” Slowly, like everything else in the book, everything is revealed.
Marika seemed like a pretty ordinary girl in the beginning. Then something terrible happens that she can never forgive herself for. Struggling to cope with what has happened, Marika thinks moving to Shelly Beach to stay alone in her family’s holiday home will help her get over what has happened. Shelly Beach is where everything falls together and we find out how Bob, Arrow and Marika alike.
This book is mainly about the three different characters and their lives, but it also revolves around the idea of ‘what if’. I liked how this book really had me thinking. What if I had the opportunity to become someone else? Would I swap lives? This book really showed that it’s important to live with our mistakes and learn to move on. I really enjoyed reading The Vanishing Moment by Margaret Wild and I’d give it a score of 8 out of 10. If you’re looking for a short, enjoyable and beautiful read, this book is for you.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin Book Publishers Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!