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“In Katy Yocom’s immersive and multi-layered novel Three Ways to Disappear, Sarah and Quinn confront painful childhood truths and address their neglected sisterhood … Authentic relationships drive the story. Indian regions and the conservation park themselves function as characters, along with tigers Machli and Akbar … Three Ways to Disappear is informative [and] refreshingly complex ... ”
“For her debut novel, Katy Yocom has created a wonderful piece of environmental fiction. She weaves together a tale about the past, about family, about forgiveness, about the ties that bind people to their culture, and about a magnificent endangered species ... That she manages to do all this without putting a foot wrong anywhere is a testimony to her talent and to her passion for a world in which all creatures deserve to live their lives without fear. It's a book whose characters and subject matter will remain with you long after you reach its conclusion.”
"Tigers are at the center of this novel, which is both about conservation of the wild and the wild human territory of the heart’s deepest need: to love and be loved. Beautifully written, original, relevant to our times, this is a novel to read and hold for a long time."
" ... immersive and multi-layered ... informative [and] refreshingly complex ... ”
"Three Ways to Disappear is a story not just about saving the tigers, but ourselves.”
Leaving behind a nomadic and dangerous career as a journalist, Sarah DeVaughan returns to India, the country of her childhood and a place of unspeakable family tragedy, to help preserve the endangered Bengal tigers. Meanwhile, at home in Kentucky, her sister, Quinn—also deeply scarred by the past and herself a keeper of secrets—tries to support her sister, even as she fears that India will be Sarah’s undoing.
As Sarah faces challenges in her new job—made complicated by complex local politics and a forbidden love—Quinn copes with their mother’s refusal to talk about the past, her son’s life-threatening illness, and her own increasingly troubled marriage. When Sarah asks Quinn to join her in India, Quinn realizes that the only way to overcome the past is to return to it, and it is in this place of stunning natural beauty and hidden danger that the sisters can finally understand the ways in which their family has disappeared—from their shared history, from one another—and recognize that they may need to risk everything to find themselves again.
With dramatic urgency, a powerful sense of place, and a beautifully rendered cast of characters revealing a deep understanding of human nature in all its flawed glory, Katy Yocom has created an unforgettable novel about saving all that is precious, from endangered species to the indelible bonds among family.
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Click here to read an excerpt in Terrain.org.
"The characters—both human and tiger—are so alive they practically leap off the page. The drama feels absolutely real. And the urgency of the book's message has never been greater."
"Sensual and sensory, lush with longing, Three Ways to Disappear is an assured and lovely debut novel. You'll find yourself luxuriating in its language and carried away by its complex and endearing characters. There isn't one wasted word, and I loved them all."
"Set partly in India, in a tiger preserve, and partly in the middle-class America of Louisville, Katy Yocom’s courageous novel Three Ways to Disappear brings us closer to our ancient kinship with the environment. Can there be not just a mystical connection but a net of shared dependencies among species? Whether in India or Kentucky, how does the traditional family unit both imprison and sustain its members? Yocom offers an exciting and suspenseful, high-stakes narrative in language both rich and precise. Her characters are as real as the person sitting next to you or looking at you in the mirror."
"Three Ways to Disappear begins with a focused lens on the endangered Bengal tiger then expands its reach with every page to reveal the interconnectedness of the natural world and fragility of all life. Weaving together the worn threads of ecological balance, this ambitious and moving novel addresses scarcity, climate change, family dynamics, cultural conflict, human accountability, women’s economic autonomy, and most of all, love, in all its wondrous forms. This is a story not just about saving the tigers, but ourselves."
"Against the backdrop of the protagonists’ lives, the book shows how life is hard in India for both the tiger and those who live near tiger preserves … The difficulties women face that stem from just being female are highlighted, ranging from village women not being able to support themselves and facing domestic abuse to women in America who feel the pressure to take care of their families over chasing their dreams. Overall, the story is about family, redemption, and facing the past to overcome guilt.”
“While at its heart Three Ways to Disappear is a book about family tragedies, lost connections and a seemingly failing marriage, endangered tiger conservation in the Aravalli forests forms the epicenter of the novel’s plot, where most of the action takes place … The book makes the reader contemplate on larger questions: At what cost is tiger conservation worthwhile? Can the persistent human development around forests be stopped to avoid conflict situations? Is the goal of tiger conservation without expansion of tiger territory really sustainable?”
“[Three Ways to Disappear] … is very demanding but equally rewarding, in many dimensions … [Yocom] offers many moments sharing the alchemical combination of gently crafted language and direct observation."
“The topic of the environment must by necessity include economics and the reality of politics. Yet in these vitriolic times, how do you find words to bring disparate voices to the table without further polarizing the conversation? Literature can take that role as it bridges a strong fictional narrative to the complicated world in which we live….Yocom’s novel achieved this with clarity and grace. Not only are the characters changed by the end of the story, we are changed for having known them."