‘The Vanishing Act’ by Mette Jakobsen

Somewhere, in the middle of a great sea, there is an island covered in snow.

There lives a little girl, Minou, with her hyper-rational and philosopher Papa and her dog No Name (that’s his name, No Name), right next to the lighthouse.

Minou’s Mother came from the sea many years before, and disappeared just as mysteriously, walking out in the rain one morning and never coming back.

On the island there is a church, and Priest, who’s afraid of the dark and who likes to make origami and bake a lot of pretzels.

There is also Boxman living there. He makes magic boxes, that he sends oversea to many great magicians. Those are enchanted boxes, made to perform the Vanishing Act.

Well, you all know what the Vanishing Act is: a magic trick where someone walks into a box and disappears for a little while, just to appear again when the magician commands it.

I hear you thinking it: “It’s only an illusion, a simple trick. There’s probably a secret panel or maybe it’s a trick with lights and mirrors.”

That’s exactly what Minou’s Papa would say. But is it true? The Boxman tells this story in a different way.

Let’s say there’s a woman that walks into a magic box – I know, it starts a lot like a bad joke, but it gets better.

As I was saying (or writing), a woman walks into a magic box.

The magician closes the box as she waves at the crowd, smiling whole-hearted.

As the magic box is sealed, the magician speaks the words and opens the box again: it’s empty, the woman is not there anymore.

Where is she?

Mette Jakobsen lets the Boxman tell the story and he reveals us that the woman is not there anymore. She’s gone into another world, just for a little while, a wonderful place, so marvelous she doesn’t want to come back.

That’s why, when she appears in the box again, as the magician calls her back, her smile is forced and her wave unsecure.

What is that world, you ask? No one knows.

It could be the Middle Earth (also known as New Zealand.) or Bejing; the Ancient Greece or Wonderland (in that case, beware of the Jabberwocky).

What do you say? You don’t believe this? Fair enough.

But then I dare you to go to a magician (a real one) and ask him to perform the Vanishing Act on you. You’ll see he’ll be reluctant. Because he knows what it is all about.

Eventually, he’ll say yes and he’ll make you walk into that enchanted box. And as soon as you’ll step back and out of the box, locked again in this reality, I know you’ll spend the rest of your life looking for that wonderful world you saw once, inside a box, during a magic trick: the Vanishing Act.


If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads

If you want to buy this book: Amazon


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