19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A Disappearance? The Ultimate Selfish Act ?,
This review is from: Missing Persons (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Reading this was mostly a far from comfortable experience. At first, I felt it was in danger of becoming one almost unbearable long essay on loss, inevitable crumbling of a marriage, endurance; for what else can you do but go on from one day to the next; of truly terrible tension. Nicci Gerrard as the other half of Nicci French writes crime stories, psychological dramas, so I was busy wondering if and when the twists and turns might arrive. The publishers words don't help, they leave every possibility wide open. You just have to push on through, as do Felix, Isabel and their two daughters, all left reeling after it is clear that Johnny, who should have been in his first term at Sheffield University, really has disappeared.
Later on in, I was able to breath again and take in a wider view. It was all so dreadfully worrying that I definitely had to sit on my hands to stop myself peeking at the end pages for a clue. Throughout, the threads were being skilfully pulled so taut and strong. I was amazed at how much the author knows or can imagine about what is a nightmare scenario for any family. Any mother who has just seen her child off to university might be advised to read this later, when their newly launched offspring is within sight and sound.
For each person, the suffering is individual, sharing it is almost impossible, and they have to deal with their loss in their own ways. There is no alternative to the dreadful coming to terms with an aching void, an almost hopeless future. How could Johnny do this to them? And why? What had they all missed? Friends and family are all distraught.
My only tiny quibble is why they all automatically imagined he had become a down and out, a homeless wreck, or was dead through dreadful mishap when perhaps they might have had some confidence that he would make a new and good life for himself without them. Therein lies the quandary. Could Johnny survive without his family? Or did he need to leave to live his life his own way...
Isabel torments herself with what she had failed to take note of, the impending breakdown that she failed to notice, all the while still almost blind to her husband and daughters, only going through the motions. Felix uses his academic skills to try to solve the puzzle, shutting everyone else out of his life. What a clever book, I am still screwed up about it in my mind, teasing at the story, proving it really is an excellent piece of sympathetic, absorbing and quite terrifying writing.