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Phillips
Julia Phillips’ debut novel, “Disappearing Earth,” is first in NYT’s Top 10. COURTESY JULIA PHILLIPS

Julia Phillips, a 2006 Montclair High School graduate and the author of “Disappearing Earth,” has made several important lists. Her book, a series of interlocking stories set in Siberia following the abduction of two girls from the town of Kamchatka, received strong reviews. In October, Phillips’ book was named one of five finalists for the 2019 National Book Award. The judges called it a “cunning, masterful novel,” and “a poetic thriller, as propulsive and enthralling as it is profound.”

The New York Times has listed Phillips’ novel first in “The 10 Best Books of 2019.” The Times describes the novel as an “assured debut,” and writes that “each richly textured tale pushes the narrative forward another month and exposes the ways in which the women of Kamchatka have been shattered — personally, culturally and emotionally — by the crime.” 

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Phillips’ book had been one of the most anticipated of the year. Phillips spoke at the Montclair Public Library, and to a meeting of the writers’ support group The Write Group, in September. She told us at that time, “The experience of getting an agent and the acquisition by Knopf was so shocking, and so different to me from the path that I had presumed I was on, that everything afterwards feels like the most miraculous dream. To see it on the most-anticipated list was shocking, but in the same way it’s been shocking since the start, layering incredible thing on incredible thing. It’s all unbelievable in the same way.”

Phillips
Disappearing Earth