8 May 2015

ELIZABETH IS MISSING.

Apologies for my late posting of this. The starting book for this months 6 Degrees Of Separation post you can see where the book took me by clicking here.


ELIZABETH IS MISSING by EMMA HEALEY.

BACK COVER BLURB: Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud ...

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue}: 'Maud? Was I boring you so much that you'd rather stand outside in the dark?

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 75}: After a few steps I find I am leaning on a noticeboard. I stop and read out the words of a poster pinned in the middle: 'Cash- machine criminals operate twenty-four hours a day.' I wonder what a Cash-machine criminal is and how they manage to stay awake for so long. The thought makes me feel tired.

SOURCE: Purchased with a book token.

MY THOUGHTS: My only criticism? Perhaps the teeniest bit drawn out but otherwise, poignant without being bleak, well observed and with a wonderfully deft narrative, all in all an extraordinary read.

A detective story - of sorts - with a haunting insight into what it is to experience confusion (I won't say of what it is to have dementia as though dementia is suspected it is neither confirmed nor denied) at the heart of which is a truly beautiful story of love and friendship and one woman's obsession with finding her friend who may (or may not) be missing. Just as Elizabeth is Maud's story so it is the story of her daughter, Helen.

What could be seen as an overly repetitious read, the increasing 'frayed at the edges' distinction between the present and events that occurred many decades ago frustrating, Elizabeth's ability to recall the mundane tiresome, her capacity to feel afresh the loss of her friend heartbreaking. For me whilst all of these things it did however bring to life beautifully the nature of memory loss, portraying perfectly Elizabeth's vulnerability as a confused elderly woman albeit it one who vigorously defends her right to buy peach slices should she so wish.

14 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

Sounds like a great book! It scares me sometimes how much I'm forgetting. Something about your description of this book reminded me of Still Alice. Have you read that one?

Melliane said...

It sounds interesting and a bit confusing but it's intriguing!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

This sounds interesting for sure. I like that there is a mystery and that there are elements of the story (like if the character has dementia) that are not spelled out. I am curious about how it all turns out, so I will be adding it to my list. :) Great review!

Kelly said...

If dementia, it could make for a fairly depressing read, but your description doesn't sound like it is. I might have to consider this one more closely.

Tracy Terry said...

No, Stephanie I haven't come across Still Alice (by Lisa Genova if I'm looking at the right book which I think I am) but now that you have mentioned it I'll be sure to keep a look out.

I very much suspect it was some kind of dementia Kelly but as you gathered it wasn't depressing. Sad in places definitely but never depressing.

Suko said...

Wonderful review as always, Tracy! I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I hadn't heard of it before venturing here!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'd be too curious to know if it was dementia or not. Still, this one sounds like a good book and the dementia seems very implied. Brilly review!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Whilst, from your own thoughtful review and the poignancy of the memorable lines from the book, you chose to highlight, it is obvious that 'Elizabeth Is Missing', has been written with great care and consideration, I think that this one is going to be just a little too close to the dementia issue for my liking.

As my own FIL has recently been diagnosed with this terrible disease, we are experiencing many of the issues firsthand, so reading about it would be an unnecessary reminder right now!

Thanks for sharing your lovely post though and have a great weekend :)

Yvonne

Tracy Terry said...

I had worried about this Yvonne as we too have a family member with this terrible condition and yet as well as perhaps being even more of a bitter sweet read I was surprised to find I engaged with the characters (and especially Helen) in such a total way.

Arti said...

Now, if this doesn't sound interesting to me! Given the threads of friendship, memory loss and mother-daughter bond - looks like I will love picking this up. Thanks for a wonderful review, Tracy!

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds so good. It sounds very original and creative and it sounds like it is poignant.

Alexia561 said...

While not my usual type of read, this one has me curious and wanting to pick up a copy! Thank you for a lovely review!

Gina R said...

Oh my. Reminds me a smidge of a recent book I read, or at least a similar character in it but that's where the similarities stop. Adding to the wish list now...

Delia (Postcards from Asia) said...

Great review, Tracy, it really made me curious about the book. I like the part about the mystery so I'm going to keep an eye out for this one.