Survival and deceit in Kimi Cunningham Grant’s new novel

March 7, 2024

An image of an open book held up in front of a mountain setting. Text on the image says Book Review: The Nature of Disappearing by Kimi Cunningham Grant

Pub date: June 18, 2024

One sentence summaryThe Nature of Disappearing follows a talented back-country fishing guide who gets roped into the search for her former best friend turned influencer, who has suddenly vanished into the Idaho wilderness.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

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Initial thoughts

Okay. Right out of the gate I will say that I was immediately turned off by the God references. I have always been a little uncomfy with the roots of organized Christianity. And to be fair, this title wasn’t categorized as religious or even spiritual. So I didn’t feel like I had signed up for any of that based on the description.

But, despite the fact that there was a character nicknamed ‘Reverend,’ the references weren’t too heavy handed. The concepts of trust and faith were introduced as a way of telling the reader that this would be a book about letting things unfold. Overall, it made sense to include them. I can definitely agree, letting go a little and trusting in the process of life can be vital.

What to Expect

I read and enjoyed one of Cunningham-Grant’s other books—These Silent Woods—so I was looking forward to this one. I expected another book rich in imagery, with a heavy dose of ‘human vs nature.’ And I was not disappointed.

As somebody who worked as a sea kayak guide, I find books often get back-country survival stuff wrong. But this one got it right on so many levels. I loved that everyone involved in the story had extensive experience with being in the wilderness. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a story about somebody who is supposed to know what they’re doing, and they are doing literally everything wrong.

The Stakes

That being said, you would think that everybody knowing their way around the back country would make the stakes feel lower, but it was actually the opposite. Because the reader knows how skilled all the characters are, we also know how frightening of a situation they are in.

Seeing as I don’t like to give too much away about the plot, I will say that for a while it seemed like everyone was going to get into a situation where they would have to out-wit each other with hunting, tracking and survival skills.

The Ending

I appreciated the direction that this story went in the end. It was sightly unexpected, but it was realistic and satisfying. This is a difficult book to talk about without giving things away, so I will say that there were a couple of plot twists that were slightly out of left field to me, but I understand the need to add those kinds of details to appease the short attention spans we all have today and add in some extra drama.

The Writing

The writing was quippy and never felt overly fraught. The characters were easily distinguishable, albeit a little subdued at times. But I very much appreciated some solid ‘girl power’ moments in this one, and I am always here for strong female characters and friendships.

This book came with me on vacation, and it was the perfect read for lounging in a hammock, next to a cenote.

Photograph of a cup of coffee on a wooden table with an eReader and a few postcards scattered around.

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