Three Ways to Disappear

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I have serious problems with this book. The story is well-written, well-articulated and compelling but it perpetuates the damaging trope of white saviourism. Every time we put -- in reality, in fiction, in our reporting on things -- energetic and well-meaning Western white people at the center of a critical situation affecting the life of subaltern communities of color, we feed into the fantasy that 1) privileged white people have something to give that subaltern POCs don't already have, 2) the neo-liberal, often Christian, though not in this case, values of the Western world are universally good and everyone on earth would be better off if they adopted them, 3) subaltern communities are simple, uneducated and uncultured, 4) whatever culture they might have is primitive and of little value, which leads us among other things to find great fault with aspects of their culture which are in fact aspects of our culture too, namely misogyny and the subjection of women, 5) whatever causes subaltern communities to suffer from poverty is not the product of centuries-long colonial exploitation from which the West benefits to this day but their innate lack of resourcefulness, and lastly 6) a well-meaning, enthusiastic and possibly well-heeled white Westerner can all by themselves step in and make everything better.

The devaluation of historical wrongs perpetrated on communities of color worldwide and of the richness of their culture that the trope of the white saviour perpetrates is so grievous that this trope should be fought with everything we have in our power. It is better for white people to stop profiting from the exploitation of communities of color the world over through conscious practices in their own (the white people's) countries than to pick up and go help. Stay home, white people. If you are burning to help, help your neighbors by agitating for justice, voting for politicians who will fight for equality for all, subscribing to AOC's Instagram feed and learning from her.
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First off, that cover. Beautiful! Environmental fiction, family drama, this book really has it all. Yocum's writing is rich and relevant. I love her character development. Everything about this story was compelling.
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In this brilliant debut novel, Katy Yocom brings us closer to the fatal reality of the extinction of Bengal tigers, layering her novel with intricate family relationships, and emotionally-gripping journey of two sisters, Sarah and Quinn. 

«Three Ways to Disappear» is by far one of the best Literary Fiction books of this year! With such a powerful first novel, Katy Yocom instantly became my new favorite author, and I can’t wait to see what else she will come up with in the future. 

There are books that just tell a story. And then there are others that make you live that story together with the characters. «Three Ways to Disappear» is a perfect example of the novel that grips the reader from the very first pages with its seamless writing, real characters, and eye-opening experience.

Winner of Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, «Three Ways to Disappear» is a magnificent representation of the difficult survival of Bengal tigers. As I was reading this book, I felt present at every sighting of the tigers. I worried about their well-being, for their complicated relationship with the villagers around the Ranthambore National park, and I felt outraged for the crimes committed against these marvelous creatures. 

Just over 300 pages, this books managed to break my heart, to make me hope and to increase my heart rate with worry for the main characters. It has been a very long time since I felt so invested in the story and in the fate of the characters. I loved Sarah and her courageous spirit. I loved Quinn and her desperate need to protect. Their lives weren’t perfect, they made mistakes, they struggled, and for those 4-5 hours that it took for me to read the book, they were the real people whose story I followed very closely. 

The little secrets that Katy Yocom hid in the plot, made for the great incentive to keep reading this book even faster. What actually happened on that fateful day? Whose fault was it and does it really matter?
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Tygre  tygre  burning bright!

What an unusual story; intriguing and immersing with the switch between past reminiscences and the current day of two sisters. Sarah DeVaughan, a disillusioned journalist is “Done. With journalism.” She's covered the worst of areas evidencing man's inhumanity to man and is now turning her back on the world of war and heartbreak for what will become a different sort of heartbreak, the world of animal protection and sanctuaries. A world of poaching, and of death and life revisited and the past revisited at the Tiger Sanctuary, Ranthambore (a place she'd last visited when she was seven and her twin Marcus was still alive) in Sawai Madhopur, India doing media work and fundraising for a conservation NGO.
Underlining Sarah's move is the story of her childhood, her family's half remembered early life in India, and the death of her twin. Something her sister Quinn has never come to grips with. That tragedy forms the background for Sara's journey as the story moves between the sisters' lives and their inner torments.
The sanctuary had been hastily created by the government on the lush land held by the farmers of the Village of Vinyal. They had been relocated to flat treeless lands, a place where water for cattle becomes a major concern for the people's livelihood over against the survival of the tigers.
Sarah's story is unexpected, touching and complex. Her love for the tigers grows, as does her concern for the women of the village, particularly the widows and the damaged. Marrying together those concerns are both heartbreaking and triumphant.
Then there's the tiger Akbar, the resident male. Almost it seems that an awareness of each other passes between Sarah and Akbar. Indeed data shows that almost each time Sarah journeys into the park, Akbar appears. Her first sight of him says it all, "He turned his head and looked right into her eyes." That connection holds throughout the story.
As an aside, the reasons for people wearing tiger masks on the back of their heads is fascinating.
Well researched, this is a story for our times with just a touch of magic and lament.
The book's title says it all, Three ways to disappear!

A Smith Publicity ARC via NetGalley
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‘A critically endangered top predator, the linchpin of entire ecosystems.’

Those who have been following along for a while now might have picked up on my love for eco-literature. You might have also seen a gravitational lean towards books featuring tigers. Three Ways To Disappear is the first novel I've had the pleasure of reading that combines these two interests: an environmental read about saving tigers, and it’s also set in India, a place I love to read about – it’s as if the universe whispered into Katy Yocom's ear and compelled her to write my ideal novel.

‘“Everything is connected,” Sanjay said. “Protecting the tiger will protect every species of animal and plant that shares its habitat. The trees that scrub pollution from the air and the rivers that supply water to every living thing.”
“So to save the tiger is to save all of nature,” Jai said. “Including us.”’

I adored this novel. It more than lived up to my expectations. I'm not going to compare it to other recent eco-literature releases or to the works of other great novelists that write to these themes because in all honesty, Three Ways To Disappear is in a class of its own. The author is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about her subject and setting, but she has the skill as a writer to translate this into highly readable fiction. The reader is given a complete picture of what is happening in India to tigers, what’s being done to protect them and increase their numbers in the wild, and what the holistic challenges are – globally. 


Three Ways To Disappear is not only a novel about tigers though. It’s also a story about a fractured family, two sisters who lost each other along the way from childhood to adulthood and need to find their way back to each other before they can fully experience everything their own lives have to offer. It’s about growing up in India as a westerner and longing for it once you’re wrenched away. It’s about cross-cultural love, grief, parental worry, marriage, being a daughter and a sister, trying to figure out who you are and what you want – connections, between people and nature.


‘It was too much. “You know what? If you think I’m making Nick smaller by worrying about him, you ought to see how small people get when they die. They just vanish, and it’s a sick fucking joke that life goes on and on and on without them. Every second of my life since then has been an insult to him. And you know what? It never goes away. The hole he left is always there. Do you understand that? It is still there. It’s the fucking stencil of my life.”’


I have so much love for this novel and would recommend it in a heartbeat. It’s a magnificent tribute to tigers, to India, and to the power of humanity when focused in on improving the lives of others along with preserving wildlife and protecting nature. India just comes to life within these pages, the beauty and despair, existing side by side. This novel travelled down rivers I never expected it to. Three Ways To Disappear may be Katy Yocom's debut novel but she is no novice when it comes to writing. The way she connected humans and tigers within this novel was masterful. There is one particular scene near the end of the novel, that despite its tragedy, was uniquely uplifting for the possibilities it confirmed – that animals and humans can, have and do connect. 



Thanks is extended to Ashland Creek Press and Smith Publicity Inc. via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Three Ways To Disappear for review.
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I finished this one cloudy afternoon  I placed my kindle down and breathed deeply. Whoa. I didn’t expect that.  

I really didn’t know what to expect from this boo other than two sisters who faced their past. But it wasn’t as simple as that. No it wasn’t.  

India is portrayed here as a complicated country. And serves as a great backdrop for the story, though for Quinn, it’s mostly in generic USA.  It’s when the she and the story shifts to India is where it’s most interesting.  

Such a pleasure to read this book. Even if I kept getting surprised by the turn of events in it.  

Thank you NetGalley and Ashland Creek Press for a copy of the book!
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Three Ways to Disappear really surprised me. I hadn't expected such a well written and moving story, but that's exactly what I got! Three Ways to Disappear tells the story of three siblings, Sarah, Quinn and Marcus. Having moved away from India following Marcus' death the two girls try to build a new life, but India keeps drawing Sarah back. There she finds fulfillment in working with endangered tigers, and finds love. 

I didn't know much about tiger conservation, but this was a really interesting way to learn about it. I also really enjoyed the sibling dynamics, and I think they were portrayed quite realistically, as was the girl's fraught relationship with their mother. 

A really good read. If anything, just a little sad. Will recommend.
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Three Ways to Disappear is a book that will stand the test of time. It goes back and forth between two sisters. One sister is completely immersed in her family life, while the other is immersed in her work as a journalist who studies tigers in India. 

The story has so much tragedy, and that is where I connected with this book the most. The author really honed in on the backstory of both sisters and did such an amazing job of creating an emotional connection with the reader.
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Title:   Three Ways to Disappear
Author:   Katy Yocom
Genre:   Fiction	
Rating:   4.5 out of 5

Sarah and Quinn spent their childhood in India, but a family tragedy drove their mother to return home to the U.S. with the girls years ago. Now, Sarah has decided to leave her life as a journalist behind to return to India to help save Bengal tigers, but the past haunts her every step. Local politics make her new job harder and a secret—and forbidden—love affair adds to the danger every day.

Quinn is afraid of losing her sister in India. Her own marriage is troubled, with her son’s life-threatening illness shadowing every day and her mother’s continued refusal to speak of or deal with the past adding another layer of tension. When Sarah asks Quinn to come to India, Quinn realizes she’ll have to face the past if she’s ever to assuage her guilt over it.

Wow. This book was an incredible read! (Except the ending. Which was so right for the book—but I was hoping for something different, so totally my own issue.) The Indian setting brims with life—colorful and full of spice—and is as much a character as Sarah and Quinn are. The sisters’ relationship is complex and scarred, but they begin to heal together. This book also does an excellent job showing the plight of endangered Bengal tigers—and the work being done to save them.

Katy Yocom is an award-winning author who lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Three Ways to Disappear is her debut novel.  

(Galley courtesy of Ashland Creek Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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Three Ways to Disappear
by Katy Yocom
Ashland Creek Press
Release date: July 16, 2019 
Pages: 300 


Ashland Creek Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
This book was received as an ARC from the publisher and Author , in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own 


Katy Yocom has created an unforgettable poignant charged novel. Told in alternating chapters, it’s the story of two sisters and the repercussions of carrying secrets and guilt. 
The writing is beautiful and the plot slowly unfolds revealing a tale of love and loss, fractured relationships, and learning to let go of the past. With complex global issues  of the tragedy of the native villagers whose livelihoods have been ravaged by the loss of lands and lakes consumed by national nature parks who confiscate the land as a way to save both earth and wildlife. In this descriptive and lush book about human nature and a beautiful relatable characters, the author pulls you into this dramatic descriptive storyline. 
Sarah DeVaughan leaves behind a nomadic and dangerous career as a journalist, to return 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 not be whatever sister, Sarah needs right now in her life 

I definitely recommend this book to friends and family
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I absolutely adored this book. The writing is beautiful, bringing to life themes of conservation, feminism, and family. I fell in love with these sisters and the way their lives touched everyone around them. I would recommend this to anyone, definitely a must-read! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Ashland Creek Press for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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"When I was a boy, I used to wonder why tigers would ever hurt anything but humans....Most of us are completely distracted ninety percent of the time, regretting the past or worrying about the future.  We would be the easiest prey in the world."

What makes this novel unique, is that it is a Family Drama combined with an Environmental fiction novel.  

Sarah returns to India, land of her early childhood to work for the conservation of the Bengal Tigers.  It soon becomes apparent that she has a way with the tigers and that they seem to favor her, as sightings in the park increase since her arrival.  But while in India, old wounds resurface (her twin brother Marcus died of cholera at age 8) and she starts questioning the past.

Her older sister Quinn lives in the US and struggles with her own grief of what happened to Marcus in India, as she blames herself. Having twins herself, and the one suffering from severe asthma, she is scared of losing him as well.

The two storylines interweaves perfectly and you really get invested in the lives of these sisters. The writing is beautiful and learning about the Bengal tiger was a bonus for me.

Themes that are explored in the book:  Early childhood trauma, family, marriage, nature conservation, Indian culture, inter-racial relationships, mental health.
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Sarah, who has traveled the world as a journalist, returns to India where her childhood took place and an unspeakable family tragedy. She joins in conservation efforts to help preserve the endangered Bengal Tigers. Meanwhile her older sister Quinn, is at home in Kentucky, struggling with the deep scars their childhood has left. On Sarah’s first day, there is a tiger sighting which is unusual the first time according to her coworkers. Something about the tigers draws Sarah and and she can’t imagine ever leaving.. Back home Quinn is dealing with her sons life threatening illness and a crumbling marriage. When Sarah asks Quinn to join her in India, she realizes maybe the only way to move forward is to go back to the place where if began. 
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This book touches on very real world issues. Endangered species, poverty in third world countries, etc. The connection between human and nature in this book is so powerful and beautiful. Katy Yocom used her real experiences from conservation parks in India to create a masterpiece! Sarah's connection to the villagers and tigers is absolutely breathtaking. The myths about Sarah and her Tiger added such a unique touch to the story that also felt so magical. The descriptions about the tigers paint beautiful pictures. Not only the tigers, but the connections of humans and cultural differences. Something that I found such a great surprise is that there is also a romance aspect to this novel as well! Ugh, I could go on and on about this book. Publishes July 16th so go preorder a copy!!
I am so thankful to have been approved for an advanced copy from Ashland Creek Press.This review is completely my own opinion!
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A really great novel, with such a sensuous writing style, and a vivid and alive sense of place.  Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to read it!
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Let there be no doubt - I adored this book! With its main themes of animal conservation and sisterhood it was always going to draw me in, but for a debut novel I was surprised at just how accomplished it was. Tremendously moving, and very well-written.

Jaded with her life as a globe-trotting journalist, covering wars and natural disasters, Sarah DeVaughan leaves her mother and sister behind in Kentucky and takes a new job in the land of her birth, working for a tiger conservation NGO near Ranthambore NP in Rajasthan, India. On the day of her arrival, a tiger accident (a euphemism for a human fatality caused by a tiger encounter) in a nearby village is a rare coincidence, but it seems to set the uneasy tone for Sarah's tenure in her new role. It's not long before Sarah has her own close encounter with Akbar, the park's resident male.

"As she read the field guide by the red beam of her penlight, something shifted in the atmosphere to her right. Without moving, she slid her eyes in that direction. And there he was: a tiger, standing alongside the jeep. She could have reached out and touched him. In the gray half light, his body blended into the forest like a ghost. He turned his head and looked right into her eyes. Then he stepped past her into the headlights, and Sanjay whispered, “Tigertigertiger!” and the four of them rose to their feet. In the light, he was no ghost but a big, glossy male, long and lean, close enough that Sarah could see the individual hairs in his fiery orange coat. His breath turned to smoke as it hit the air. Without taking her eyes off the animal, Sarah raised her camera."

As her work with her new, small team continues, it comes to notice that the incidence of tiger sightings increases when Sarah is on board, and then one day, while supporting a foreign documentary film crew, Sarah makes an ill-advised but successful cub rescue that is caught on film and the legend of Tiger Woman is born. (While this might sound a bit silly, it's kept quite low-key in terms of the story-telling, but it is actually an important element later on.)

Meanwhile back in Kentucky, Sarah's older sister Quinn is troubled by her son's severe asthma symptoms and by her husband's apparently casual attitude towards it. Little Nick is a twin, and a continual reminder of the younger brother she lost as a child - Sarah's twin. Both sisters have carried enormous guilt over their brother's death for most of their lives, and this is something that has prevented them from being closer to each other, and to their surviving mother. A particularly severe asthma attack is the catalyst for Quinn reaching out to both her sister and her mother to try to find some peace with her own part in Marcus' death.

"It hit Quinn then that Mother had lost all three of her children. They had each found their own way to disappear from her, and from one another. Marcus had had no say in the matter, but Sarah and Quinn—they chose."

On a visit to India, the two sisters begin to open up and reconnect.

"They fell silent, considering the little gravestone with the bright bouquet. Sweet Marcus. The empty space in the middle of all their lives."

Quinn goes to spend time with Sarah at Ranthambore, and starts to understand the pull of Sarah's new vocation.

"...there was Machli, lying at the lakeside, regal in repose. Shaggy and thin as she was, she was still glorious. She blinked lazily and elevated her chin as if contemplating her own magnificence. How satisfying, she seemed to say, to be so splendid."

Then, just as relationships begin to mend, a shocking twist seemingly prevents the happy-ever-after we might have hoped for.

So far, this is my favourite book of 2019. It's one I will certainly read again in the future.
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The setting and the stories about the tigers are so magnificent in this book, you could read it for that alone. I absolutely fell in love with India and had my heart wrenched out by the constant struggles of its people, the conservationists, and the tigers. To be that dependent and affected by mother nature and poverty really made me stop and reflect on my own life (and all of the things I am grateful for!) I really enjoyed Sarah's story and her connection with these big, beautiful tigers (and their plight). 

But it was sister Quinn that I find myself gravitating toward. While her story was more mundane back in quiet Louisville, I found myself relating to her lifestyle more. While Sarah is off in India on a grand adventure, rescuing baby tigers and setting up a women's initiative to help the local women earn money, Quinn was at home worrying about her children and her fragile marriage. This story line was not as exciting or rich in scenic detail, but I loved it because I could relate to it. I understood it. I've maybe even lived a moment or two of it. 

It's taken me a few days to digest the ending of this novel and I'm sure readers will have a lot to say about it. But that's what I love about reading-- the dialogue that comes about after two people have finished a story and want to discuss what they loved about it and what they wished had happened differently. I liked that the overall tone was honest and realistic. The family members are warned. They might get the answers they are looking for, but it won't  make them any happier. I think that's a good life lesson.
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Sarah DeVaughan's twin brother Marcus died of cholera in India at the age of 7, and the entire family never got over it.  In present-day Louisville, Kentucky Sarah is 32-yrs old and her sister Quinn is 35. Quinn's constant fear that her own 7 yr-old twin son will die is causing problems in her marriage.  And crazy risk-taker Sarah sets off for a job saving tigers in India. 

Writer Katy Yocom writes beautifully, at times like a linguist at others like a travel writer, she really brings the DeVaughan family to life as well as the characters Sarah works with in Sawai. In the Afterward her research in India is described in depth, but I wondered what is her experience with twins. Both sets of twins in differing generations exhibit traits so authentic it broke my heart: "You know what?" Quinn said (to Sarah, after her twin Marcus dies), "I'll be your twin now." Sarah slapped her across the face. 

I liked the theme of feminism running throughout "The world would be a better place if more women were selfish"  albeit intermittently interrupted with Mother-isms like "Hogamus higamus men are polygamous. Higamus hogamus, women monogamous." While I read in the Afterward that the revolt at the reservoir was based on an actual event, as I read that part in the book I was very confused, didn't understand why William was calling in water trucks, or why there seemed to be no authoritative oversight, why Sanjay all of a sudden acted like such a daredevil, and then even the mother's mystery at the end I found unsatisfying, but I'll chalk that up to my just wanting this story to continue, it was that absorbing.
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I was drawn to this book because of the Author's ties to my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.But the real star of the story is India and specifically a conservation park. Colors, smells, textures all come to life through exquisite storytelling. Tigers and their natural habitat are showcased and the Author demonstrates knowledge of such through her research and trip to India. A love story and a reconnection of sisters is a springboard for the conservation and well executed. An author to watch.
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Quinn and Sarah DeVaughn – sisters, torn apart by the death of their brother in childhood, separated by space and a wall built by grief and guilt, return to their childhood to find themselves and each other. Sarah, a journalist, has a love for adventure and seems to seek out danger quits her job and returns to India, the home of her childhood. Quinn, cocooned in the safe space she has created for herself in Kentucky, fears that India will be the cause of Sarah’s undoing. ‘Three Ways to Disappear’ tells the story of two sisters both determined to finally face up to their past to and risk the lives they have built to find themselves again. 

Katy Yocom has written a novel which is dramatic, urgent, complex and unexpected. The narrative is told from the perspective of Quinn and Sarah allowing for the reader to gain an insight into misunderstandings and latent feelings which have paralysed their relationship since childhood. The powerful sense of place Yocom has weaved throughout this novel ground the narrative and its characters. Both sisters, and their memories, are bound to place in a way that brings the setting to the forefront of the novel.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this novel, but it was a wonderful, addictive, and surprising read. The emphasis on restoration and preservation, of family bonds, the environment, and communities makes this novel special, bringing together complex issues in a beautifully told story. The shocking ending reverberated in my brain for days after I had finished reading. Three ways to disappear is one that I’ll be coming back to again and again. 

Read courtesy of NetGalley.
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Three Ways to Disappear 🐅 - Katy Yocom
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Writing: 7.5/10
Plot: 8/10
Need to read: 5/10
Overall: 7/10
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Wow it feels good to finally finish a book after all this time. ⭐️ Three Ways to Disappear is about two sisters, Quinn and Sarah, and the story of their lives unraveling and intertwining while they’re halfway across the globe from one another. 🌳🐅 This novel is a refreshingly realistic depiction of family life and the fine line between love and resentment. 🎒 Between moving, starting four classes, and starting a new job this book took me a while to get through but the plot was one that stuck out in my mind so I knew exactly where I was every time I picked it up. 🌖 Honestly the writing wasn’t very beautiful or standout, but I had to rate it highly because I think the writing really let the plot shine in this book. It flowed really well and the way the story was structured felt very natural.
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