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Extended Audio Sample The Vanishing of Katharina Linden: A Novel, 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:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A contemporary story that feels age-old, too…Dotted with creepy tales.”

    New York Times

  • “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.”


  • “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 the 2011 YALSA Alex Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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