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Extended Audio Sample The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel Audiobook, by Helen Grant Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,384 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Helen Grant Narrator: Justine Eyre Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2010 ISBN: 9780307737403
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Not since The Elegance of the Hedgehog has a book arrived in America from Europe on such wings of critical praise and popularity. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is an unforgettable debut—at once chilling and endearing, haunting and richly insightful—the story of one girl’s big heart and even bigger imagination, and of a world full of mystery, good, and evil.
 
It isn’t ten-year-old Pia’s fault that her grandmother dies in a freak accident. But tell that to the citizens of Pia’s little German hometown of Bad Münstereifel, or to the classmates who shun her. The only one who still wants to be her friend is StinkStefan, the most unpopular child in school.

But then something else captures the community’s attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen on a float in a parade, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm’s fairy tale, she disappears. But, this being real life, she doesn’t return.

Pia and Stefan suspect that Katharina has been spirited away by the supernatural. Their investigation is inspired by the instructive—and cautionary—local legends told to them by their elderly friend Herr Schiller, tales such as that of Unshockable Hans, visited by witches in the form of cats, or of the knight whose son is doomed to hunt forever.

Then another girl disappears, and Pia is plunged into a new and unnerving place, one far away from fairy tales—and perilously close to adulthood. 

Marvelously morbid, stunningly suspenseful, and exceptionally winning, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is a new coming-of-age classic, and the most accomplished fiction debut in years.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Dark and deadly as the original Grimm’s German folktales, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden hides its menace behind the exquisitely charming narrator, Pia, an unforgettable child of the first order. Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child and Angels of Destruction
  • “A contemporary story that feels age-old, too…Dotted with creepy tales.”

    New York Times

  • Both a wonderful first novel, and a strange, haunting modern fairytale, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is that rare beast: a book that reawakens in adults the childhood terror of the bogeyman, and confirms for children that the world is an infinitely stranger place than adults might like to pretend . . . John Connolly, New York Times author of The Reapers
  • The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is a stunning debut with a richly evoked setting, a smart sympathetic heroine, and the best opening line for a novel I've ever read.  Helen Grant conjures a tale of evil in rural Germany that would make the Brothers Grimm jealous!' —Rick Riordan, New York Times author of the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series
  • “Steeped in spooky legends and set in a country that, for all its present-day serenity, can’t fully escape the burden of its harrowing past, this is a mystery with unusual resonance.”

    Washington Post

  • “Grant’s splendid debut…combines the grisly folktales of the Brothers Grimm with the insidious rumor-mill of a small community where ancient wounds fester and scores remain unsettled…This is a feast of treats and creeps. The excellent writing…makes this an eerily subtle literary page-turner. Wonderful.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Fascinating…Veers off in an unexpected direction and Grant steers it with impressive skill…As in The Lovely Bones…what could be a grim subject matter is unsensationally embedded within a richly textured, effortlessly written novel with an impeccable sense of place and characterization.”

    Sunday Telegraph (London)

  • “Outstanding…An absolutely compelling tale.”

    Times (London)

  • “Inventive…An original and well-observed tale…Grant’s imagination—coupled with prodigious research and skillful writing—make her an author to watch.”

    BookPage

  • “A meeting of Harriet the Spy and The Lovely Bones with a dash of Grimm thrown in, this is an engaging mystery and a tender story of children caught in some very adult circumstances.”

    Library Journal

  • “Both a wonderful first novel, and a strange, haunting modern fairytale, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is that rare beast: a book that reawakens in adults the childhood terror of the bogeyman, and confirms for children that the world is an infinitely stranger place than adults might like to pretend.”

    John Connolly, New York Times bestselling author

  • Winner of Margaret A. Edwards Award (Alex Awards), 2011
  • Winner of the 2011 YALSA Alex Award
  • Winner of Alex Award - YALSA, 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 2/18/2014

    " This was a decent young adult book, and a very quick read. Parts of the plot didn't seem that important, and the middle section of the book didn't really help much with the overall mystery, but I liked the ending. I wasn't expecting the book to end how it did, and it more or less made up for having to wait through some of the more boring parts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 2/17/2014

    " Good mystery. Kind of sinister. It was a page turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marjanne | 2/17/2014

    " I really enjoyed this story. It's part mystery, part fairy tale, part horror, part ghost story, and overall just good. I enjoyed the plot and characters. It is one of the rare books, at least recently, that I just wanted to keep reading and find out what happened next. I enjoyed that there was not a lot of fluff and that the story really moved. The ending was not all that surprising, but I really enjoyed getting there. I would be interested in reading another book by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 2/15/2014

    " 3.5 stars. I round it down to three because although I liked it quite a bit, I don't think it's one that I'm going to think about at all now that I'm done with it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peggy | 2/5/2014

    " Set in a small village in Germany, the story takes place in 1998. A young girl, Katherina Linden, goes missing on the night of a local holiday celebration. The whole village is assembled to watch a parade and noone sees a thing as Katherina disappears. She is not found and the people of the village start suspecting each other. Ten year old Pia Kolvenbach and her friend Stefan, take it upon themselves to solve the mystery of Katherina's disappearance. Much of the story is set in the dead of winter. I felt the cold as I read. The landscape is bleak and the story is suspenseful. It was a good, creepy tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelley | 1/26/2014

    " I saw someone refer to this book as horror and I would say that it is NOT horror. It is the story of something horrible that happened in a small German town as told through the eyes of one of it's resident children. I don't really think there is anything "new" to this story. There's a mystery and a couple of the kids decide they are going to solve the mystery. Of course, they end up in danger in the course of their investigating. I did like the writing and look forward to reading more from Helen Grant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/22/2014

    " A great mystery with a bit of a supernatural element. Of course being set in Germany and having random German words and phases thrown in was especially appealing to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 1/17/2014

    " I very much enjoyed this book. It is a modern story about a town dealing with a series of tragedies (and particularly the effects on one girl's family) but also has the undercurrents of an old-fashioned dark fairy-tale at the same time. It takes place in a small German town and incorporates some German words, phrases, folk tales and traditions. I didn't realize until after I finished that there was a small glossary of German terms in the back, but you didn't need this in order to understand what was going on. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary Lou | 1/16/2014

    " It is beautifully written and gives a strong sense of place to the village. But the plot was predictable, and the pacing way too slow. Plodding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evelyn | 1/10/2014

    " I would have given this 4 stars but I thought when the murder mystery is solved near the end of the book, the person who's revealed as the villain is too improbable. The explanation given for his/her actions didn't seem convincing either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamera | 1/10/2014

    " a coming of age story mixed with mischief and fantasy and stark reality. a new author whose next book is definitely worth looking into. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mercedes | 12/15/2013

    " I liked this book - sort of a modern day German fairy tale about missing children told from the point of view of a young girl. It had me from the opening line "My life might have been so different, had I not been known as the girl whose grandmother exploded". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 11/13/2013

    " Interesting, charming, atmospheric mystery. 3 1/2 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kiersten | 9/26/2013

    " I was really really liking this book...until I got the end. And then I realized that I maybe didn't like it as much anymore. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mirra | 6/5/2013

    " This book reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird in many ways. It was great "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anne | 3/29/2013

    " The author's contrivance of folk tales coming to life was deftly accomplished. I found the rest oddly presented, sort of like a toolbox as a centerpiece. It's there, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense and isn't all that interesting to try. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie Jewett | 2/28/2013

    " Didn't like the ending at all. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Roberta | 1/29/2013

    " I couldn't get past the 2nd chapter - too weird for me! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 1/25/2013

    " This was a very strange and haunting story. Kept me wanting more. A very good ending. Not what I was expecting. A big turn of events. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evon | 9/20/2012

    " her first novel. enjoyed reading, although a little predictable "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Phyllis | 6/12/2012

    " So, so fairy tale sinister story. Didn't find it all that scary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 4/30/2012

    " I thought this book was pretty good- it was ultimately gripping though at times slow. I did find it kind of bothersome to keep looking up German words but I liked learning about small town German culture. I also liked how this coming of age novel is actually a pretty intriguing murder mystery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 3/24/2012

    " My new favorite author! Great humor in a fast-reading horror rejuvenation of a Grimm fairy tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 nitsirkvil | 5/27/2011

    " this book was a little confusing. it seemed like a good young adult book, except that it's kinda gruesome. but in a jokey way. but still. wasn't what i expected, but still a decent book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shamsa | 5/17/2011

    " it was a mysterious but much of a mouth full seriously #
    did l enjoy this book kinda
    was
    it worththn time yes
    but l wouldnt recomend it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 5/6/2011

    " Book Club can be hit or miss sometimes, but this one was really great. It was a different twist on a mystery that is wonderfully enriched with a culture of a society and the folklore from it's past. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denali | 5/3/2011

    " This made me feel like I was reading a YA book in the best possible way. There are some fun sly twists in the secondary plots that I very much enjoyed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jumana (keepasecretforme) | 4/21/2011

    " The story was really good and I loved the twists and turns because they kept me intrigued but the ending wasn't as good as I thought it would be. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Phoebe | 3/31/2011

    " I'm flummoxed by the rave reviews! I blame the German words -- they made what's essentially a YA book seem smarter for not being entirely in English.

    "

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About the Narrator

Justine Eyre is a classically trained actress who has narrated dozens of audiobooks and has a prestigious Audie Award and two AudioFile Earphones Awards under her belt. Eyre is multilingual and known for her great facility with accents. She has appeared on stage, with leading roles in King Lear and The Crucible, and has had starring roles in four films on the indie circuit. Her recent television credits include Two and a Half Men and Mad Men.