Charlie Bell's picture is in the paper. He is a popular young man with a successful hedge fund and London is full of money. Then in one evening, everything changes. When his wife Leila threatens to leave him, a journey begins in which they are both forced to discover what they believe in. The plot sweeps the reader from glitzy pre-crisis London, through the Midsummer Night's Dream of rural Spain and then back again to the grittier London of The Hillford Estate and a charitable drop-in centre for kids. Throughout the book, the inner stories reflect the outer one of the financial crisis. As grand illusions fade, Disappear questions the connection between couples, between family members, even between the helper and the helped. Ultimately it looks at our very sense of belonging and asks: is it possible simply to disappear from your own life? In the climactic final scenes, set in the heat and sensual chaos of Notting Hill Carnival, each of the main characters will live out their answer.
Talitha Stevenson lives in London.