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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parenting in the deep south
A superb novel, at least as good as Gautreaux's earlier work, "The Clearing". It begins with Sam Simoneaux, a Cajun, landing in France on Armistice Day, and his unit is assigned to clear unexploded ammo from 2 square miles of battlefield. They have no training, and they take casualties. One day they find an old French artillery piece, and they decide to fire it at a...
Published on 25 Jan 2010 by T. Burkard

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3.0 out of 5 stars A little slow
The description of this book enticed me to buy it but I wasn't completely ensnared. Very descriptive but so slow that I found it a bit tedious.I love books set in the South, slow moving & humid (read William Gay). I couldn't empathise with the main character,he seemed stiff & unreal,but hey, I'm no writer!
Published on 5 July 2012 by Lindylou


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5.0 out of 5 stars A highly original read, 8 May 2011
This review is from: The Missing (Paperback)
Do you want to take a trip aboard a pleasure steamer on the Mississippi in 1920s Louisiana? Do you want to meet the singers and musicians, the river pilots and the engineers who keep the whole (very shaky) enterprise afloat and provide entertainment up and down the river in the summer months?

Tim Gautreaux has skilfully recreated a lost world of the Mississippi - and a world that had me fascinated from start to finish. The storyline is simple - Sam Simoneaux works in a department store in town when a child goes missing in the shop whilst he is on duty. As a result, Sam loses his job. He is told, however, that he can have his job back if he finds the child. The child's parents are a singer and a musician, working on the steamboats that steam up and down the river, stopping at the towns en route so that partygoers can come aboard and drink, dance, fight... until the boat returns to shore and they can go back to their normal lives. Sam joins the crew and thus we too follow his progress upriver in search of the child.

I loved the detail of the boat and the detail of people aboard, I loved the landscape which Sam must travel in order to locate the child. I loved the frontier feel - where law and justice don't mean quite the same things, where life comes cheap. Yet there are wise people too and Sam is pulled between both sides. We follow his choices.

This is an original read and one to recommend to people who have enjoyed Annie Proulx's writing.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Pitch, 22 Feb 2010
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This review is from: The Missing (Paperback)
This, Tim Gautreaux's third novel, takes everything that was great about his first two and adds more. There's music, heartbreak, drollery, poetry, history, philosophy and an astonishing high-definition physicality built into (rather than bolted on to) a simple, compelling story of lost children and lost parents. Paragraph-for-paragraph there aren't many writers with his gift for conjuring the real world from thin air, and none I can think of who match that with the wry, humane complexity Gautreaux displays in this book.
The Clearing was a significant work, but comparison with this shows up its weaknesses; compare the two scenes where guns are drawn by the railroad tracks, and somehow the one in The Clearing looks a bit melodramatic, a bit unearned and earnest. The scene in The Missing, by contrast, mixes slapstick with righteous anger and contrives to find justice without bloodshed, closure without a body-count, some consolation without any feeling of that consolation being too easily gained.
This novel is full of music but does not contain one false note, and there isn't a page in it where that music doesn't sing and soar.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Missing, 17 Jun 2009
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R. Coombe (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Missing (Hardcover)
Very Cold Mountain; entertaining, exciting and it introduced me to a world about which I knew nothing. A really good read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing at its very best!, 30 Oct 2010
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A. D. Thorne "Tall Tale Teller" (Warfield, Berks, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Missing (Paperback)
This was my first Tim Gautreaux novel and I can honestly say that this was the best book I have read in a very long time. I was gripped from cover to cover by the credible plot, the stunning and evocative description and quality characterisation. A great, atmospheric tale which you don't want to finish! I am now ordering my next Gautreaux novel.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Problems with the plot, 3 Dec 2009
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D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Missing (Paperback)
Tim Gautreaux yet again demonstrates a wonderful ability to evoke the mood of a by-gone era. His prose style, as ever, is highly readable. But on this occasion I do have a problem with the plot which reveals far too much early on about the identity of the couple who have kidnapped the little girl who Sam sets out to find (the reasons for the journey are well handled by the author though). This robs the novel of much of the suspense that could have been cranked up nicely as the story progressed (although there is another plot strand that harks back to Sam's early childhood). As a result the story meanders somewhat ploddingly, in keeping with the speed of the river boat that Sam is journeying on, which is a bit of a shame. In my view this is not in the same league as his debut novel, 'The Clearing' which remains one of my favourites - in fact I enjoyed his second, weaker novel (which was reminiscent of an Anne Tyler) much more than 'The Missing'.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mississipi in the twenties, 5 Nov 2009
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This review is from: The Missing (Paperback)
Atmospheric evocation of life on the Mississipi for a small band of musicians. But the characters are cardboard thin and the plot meanders on and on ...like the river. The Clearing, his previous novel, is much better.
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The Missing
The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Paperback - 21 Jan 2010)
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