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Elizabeth Is Missing: A Novel
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Harper 2014
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Description

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MYSTERY WHEN YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
06/10/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062309709
ASIN:
B00FJ3AAWQ
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Emma Healey. (2014). Elizabeth Is Missing: A Novel. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Emma Healey. 2014. Elizabeth Is Missing: A Novel. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Emma Healey, Elizabeth Is Missing: A Novel. Harper, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Emma Healey. Elizabeth Is Missing: A Novel. Harper, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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        Emma Healey grew up in London where she studied for her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University East Anglia. Her first novel, Elizabeth is Missing, was published to critical acclaim in 2014, became a Sunday Times (London) bestseller and won the Costa First Novel Award. She lives in Norwich, England with her husband and daughter.

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shortDescription

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MYSTERY WHEN YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and...

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title
Elizabeth Is Missing
fullDescription

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MYSTERY WHEN YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?

sortTitle
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Wall Street Journal
      • content: "Healey is able to imagine and empathize on such a level because she's simply a brilliant writer. Let's hope we hear much more from her over the years."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: "A gripping mystery...this bears comparison to A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and S. J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep.
      • premium: False
      • source: Sunday Times (London)
      • content: "Maud's memory is failing, slipping further away each day. So how can she convince anyone that her best friend is truly missing?...A poignant novel of loss."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Observer (London)
      • content: "British author Healey draws on her own grandmothers' experiences to create the distinctive narrator of her first novel... an absorbing tale."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Independent (London)
      • content: "Elizabeth Is Missing is every bit as compelling as the...hype suggests.... The novel is both a gripping detective yarn and a haunting depiction of mental illness, but also more poignant and blackly comic than you might expect."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Journal of Books
      • content: "Elizabeth is Missing will stir and shake you: an investigation into a seventy-year-old crime, through the eyes of the most likeably unreliable of narrators. But the real mystery at its compassionate core is the fragmentation of the human mind."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: "This is no conventional crime novel but a compelling work that crosses literary genres. Maud's experience of dementia is harrowing at times, especially in comparison to her completely lucid moments. The two mysteries at the heart of the book, too—one experienced as a girl and the other as an elderly woman—are brilliantly handled. The result is bold, touching and hugely memorable."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (starred review)
      • content: "[A] knockout debut.... Ms. Healey's audacious conception and formidable talent combine in a bravura performance that sustains its momentum and pathos to the last."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Part mystery, part meditation on memory, part Dickensian revelation of how apparent charity may hurt its recipients, this is altogether brilliant."
      • premium: False
      • source: BookPage
      • content: "A thrillingly assured, haunting and unsettling novel, I read it at a gulp."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Bookseller, “Ones to Watch”
      • content: "Spellbinding."
      • premium: False
      • source: Emma Donoghue
      • content: "Not only have we several genres in the one novel, we have two main themes. How it feels to experience dementia, and a page-turner of a detective story. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be beautiful. It is a gripping thriller, but it's also about life and love: the love of an exasperated daughter for her mother; the love of sisters and of friends and the love I felt for Maud."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia, Where They Found Her, and A Good Marriage
      • content: "This novel genuinely is one of those semi-mythical beasts, the book you cannot put down."
      • premium: False
      • source: Deborah Moggach, author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
      • content: "A compelling read, Elizabeth is Missing offers added depth of mystery and suspense along with aptly portraying a family trying to cope with illness."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jonathan Coe, author of The Rotter’s Club
      • content: "Ingeniously structured and remarkably poignant.... A riveting story of friendship and loss that will have you compulsively puzzling fact from fiction as you race to the last page."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 10, 2014
        British author Healey draws on her own grandmothers’ experiences to create the distinctive narrator of her first novel. Maud Horsham can no longer function safely in the present, and one of the unanswered questions of this sad, unsettling psychological mystery is why Maud lives alone in the south of England, with only a little part-time help and daily visits from Helen, her grown daughter. When Maud becomes obsessed with the apparent disappearance of Elizabeth, “the only friend I have left,” her already erratic life becomes chaotic. All of her attempts to find Elizabeth, including visits to the police, are unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Maud’s search for Elizabeth elicits memories of another disappearance—that of her sister, Sukey, back in 1948. Few readers may want to journey through the mind of a person with dementia, but Healey demonstrates that an absorbing tale can indeed be written from such a perspective. Agent: Karolina Sutton, Curtis Brown (U.K.).

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2014
        Maud's memory is going quickly. She doesn't always know who her daughter is and ends up buying cans of peaches at the store every time she shops because she can't figure out how to find the items on her list. One thing Maud is sure of though, her friend Elizabeth is missing. But she can't convince anyone else. So Maud leaves herself notes and attempts to visit Elizabeth, only to be turned away by her angry son, Peter. Maud's investigative attempts also awaken memories of an earlier disappearance, that of her sister Sukey many years ago. Where Maud has difficulty keeping track of her current life from moment to moment, the past becomes clearer and forms a disturbing picture--one that may connect to the missing Elizabeth. VERDICT Delving into the mind of a woman suffering from dementia, Healey uses her unreliable narrator to create realistic tension. Suspenseful and emotional in equal parts, the author's debut hits all the right notes. Fans of other books with questionable narrators like Alice LaPlante's "Turn of Mind" and S.J. Watson's "Before I Go To Sleep" will find much to love here. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14.]--Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2014
        Maud's memory is failing, slipping further away each day. So how can she convince anyone that her best friend is truly missing?In her debut novel, Healey deftly evokes the frustrations of Maud and her daughter, both annoyed by Maud's inability to remember that she bought peach slices yesterday (not to mention the day before), or her own address or the fact that she's already alerted the police to Elizabeth's absence four times. Large and small notes blanket the house and fill Maud's purse with reminders (no more peaches; Elizabeth's son says she's OK), but Maud disregards or mistrusts them, questioning her daughter's authority and Elizabeth's son's truthfulness. Healey also compassionately draws the landscape of Maud's mind, layering the past over the present, blurring the lines between reality and memory. Just as she's worried about Elizabeth in the present, she's troubled by events from her childhood in post-World War II London. Then, she and her parents had a lodger, Douglas. Her sister, Sukey, lived with her husband, Frank, in a big house crammed with odds and ends collected through his furniture-moving business. But Sukey disappeared, too. Both Douglas and Frank were briefly considered suspects. Certainly, Douglas' close friendship with Sukey and Frank's mysterious business dealings raised some hackles. But a lack of evidence prompted officials to determine that Sukey likely just ran away. But Maud never believed that her beloved sister would have left of her own accord without saying goodbye. Could the two mysteries be connected? With little to no assistance from the police, then or now, the family must band together to discover the truth. At first, Maud's disintegrating memory stymies her progress, but soon enough, the elision of boundaries becomes an asset.A poignant novel of loss.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2014
        Your best friend doesn't respond to calls or knocks on the door. A moving van is loaded with your friend's possessions. Your friend's son, a nasty, grasping type, seems to have taken over. You report what's going on to the police, to your daughter, to anyone who will listen. No one believes you. You hardly know whether to believe yourself since you know that your memory, lately, has gotten so bad. This is the predicament facing Maud Horsham, a woman who survived the London Blitz and is now sinking into dementia. Part of the wallop of this mystery is that a woman with declining memory and mental powers is placed in the position of detective. This adds to the urgency of her quest, since Maud is battling the condescension of her caretakers, the police, and her daughter as her faculties fade. Another part of the power of this debut novel is that Maud is the narrator; this choice of point of view gives readers a lens on the casual cruelties inflicted on the aging, especially those with dementia. Maud writes everything down, to help her remember clues about her missing friend, and she also writes down how she is treated. Maud focuses on a second mystery as well, the disappearance of her sister, Sukey, after the war. Part mystery, part meditation on memory, part Dickensian revelation of how apparent charity may hurt its recipients, this is altogether brilliant.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

subtitle
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