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The Vanishing

by Tim Krabbe

When his girlfriend inexplicably disappears at a filling station, Rex Hofman begins an obsessive quest to find out what happened to her. Having grabbed me straight away, this intense, edgy story didn't let go until its disturbing climax, and even then not fully. This is a sparse, deceptively simple novel. I think it works so well because it leaves so much to the imagination, yet doesn't give you the option of not imagining.

Extract

A bleak emptiness unfolded in his stomach, as though he was sitting on a swing that wouldn't stop going down. Something was wrong, he could tell by the cheerful colors of the bicycles on the roof, by the colors of her jacket. He suddenly felt completely alone, as if they'd broken up.

Was she playing some kind of trick on him? He shook his head.

From the bag of holiday reading he took out a notepad and a ballpoint pen, and using the still-warm hood as his table he wrote: Sas. I can't find you. I'm off looking for you. If you come back, stay by the car. Rex xxx. He stuck the piece of paper under one of the windshield wipers.

Translated by Sam Garrett

Parallels

The Collector by John Fowles
The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton
One Hour Photo - the film
 

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