- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1st edition (5 Jun. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241003504
- ISBN-13: 978-0241003503
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.8 x 20.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3,442 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Elizabeth is Missing Hardcover – 5 Jun 2014
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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 from that description... perhaps Healey's greatest achievement is the flawless voice she creates for Maud. (The Observer)
A compelling mystery that capture the experience of Maud, a highly memorable elderly woman losing her memory (Sunday Express)
A thrillingly assured, haunting and unsettling novel, I read it at a gulp (Deborah Moggach)
One of those semi-mythical beasts, the book you cannot put down (Jonathan Coe)
Already being tipped for literary stardom. At the London Book Fair last April, nine publishers fought for her debut, Elizabeth is Missing... a tale of dementia, its TV rights have already been sold (Evening Standard's Fourteen in 2014)
Memory - or the lack of it - continues to be a big theme in fiction. The manuscript of this debut mystery narrated by an 81 year old who can't quite remember what she's investigating created a buzz at the London book fair in 2013 (Guardian's 2014 Books)
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. (Emma Donoghue, award-winning author of Room)
About the Author
Emma Healey wrote her first short story when she was four, told her teachers she was going to be a writer when she was eight, but had learnt better by twelve and had decided on being a litigator (inspired entirely by the film Clueless). It took another ten years before she came back to writing. She grew up in London where she went to art college and completed her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, and was busily pursuing a career in the art world before writing overtook everything. She moved to Norwich in 2010 to study for the MA in Creative Writing at UEA and never moved back again. Elizabeth is Missing is her first novel; it won the Costa First Novel Award 2014 and was shortlisted for the National Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. Emma Healey was also shortlisted as an NBA New Writer of the Year.
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When my Mum repeated herself for the 20th time, I always told myself "She's not doing it on purpose" to keep myself from 'losing it' and tried to be as patient with her as she needed me to be. I found the reactions of the daughter in this book quite angry and impatient and I found myself disliking the daughter because of it. I wanted to shout at her for being so insensitive and selfish. My Mum has gone through all of these stages and is now in a Care Home for Alzheimer's and Dementia sufferers. Although she took quite some time to settle in, she is now 'happy' but very confused. The confusion experienced by the sufferer in the book is so sad that I just wanted to hug her and make her feel better. A hug always made things feel better when we were children and, as adults, we all yearn for that feeling. An Alzheimer's sufferer regresses to their childhood memories and a hug is one of the best therapies for them, especially from those they love and feel safe with.
The book flashes forward and backwards between the present and Maud's past and at times leaves you wondering what's going on and whether Maud's suspicions are correct. The author has done an amazing job of articulating how the thoughts of someone with dementia flitters between past and present, and kept the mystery of Elizabeth going until the very end.
I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a lighthearted but intriguing mystery.
I thought the progression of Maud's illness was extremely accurate, and her behaviours were absolutely spot on. I enjoyed the flips between time and found it made Maud seem more "human" if that's even the appropriate word? She wasn't just a rambling old woman with an illness, she'd been a whole person once... a child, a teenager, a young mother, all forgotten in time until only her disease defined her. Very sad.
Though I found some of the plot fairly predictable, I didn't mind. I think it was supposed to be in parts. As the reader we know what is happening to her, but she doesn't, and that was much of the point. I worked out what had happened to Elizabeth quite quickly, but it took me a little longer to work out what had happened to Sukey.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. I read it in the day. I cried, I laughed and I feel like I understand my grandmother's behaviour towards the end just a little bit better. 5 stars x
I think Emma Healey does a great job at describing Maud’s thoughts, and how things we consciously try to forget and put behind us are bound to come back to us when our mind is in a more fragile state. My only complaint with the story is that I found that the present events that triggered the memories and brought us back to the past became increasingly hollow, as if the author was kind of running out of ideas.
As my own 90-years old Grandma now struggles to recognize me and spends more and more time in a past she never used to talk about, this story really struck a cord. Even if you’re not in this situation though, the novel is sure so shake you.
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