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The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
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The Missing (2009)

by Tim Gautreaux (Author)

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2491146,085 (3.99)34
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» See also 34 mentions

English (10)  French (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
As always Gautreaux's writing is amazing. ( )
  JessicaReadsThings | Nov 12, 2013 |
Beautiful, beautiful prose. This writer is one of my favorite "re-reads". ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jun 13, 2012 |
Sam Simoneaux has returned from France, where a life changing experience during WWI has him eagerly longing for the normalcy of his job as a department store floorwalker in New Orleans. His wife also longs for his return where they both face their new life together without the child they lost to a viral infection. But much to their great disappointment, quite a different life is in store for them when Sam fails to prevent a kidnapping from taking place under his watch at the store. The bad publicity prompts the store’s owner to fire Sam for allowing the abduction to take place and Sam soon finds himself working on a Mississippi riverboat, along with the child’s parents. He took this job hoping to get a lead on the child’s whereabouts, return her to her parents and, ultimately, be able to return to his floor walking job. Along the way, Sam discovers the truth about the loss of his own family, when he was an infant. Two mysteries for the price of one! What could be better.

Although it took some time to get sucked into the suspense and mystery of the narrative, this book turned out to be a terrific stand alone mystery and I was glad to read one that is not ultimately a part of a series. Gautreaux builds suspense and evokes a time and place that no longer exists in this country. The music on the riverboat calls to mind a simpler time, it’s during Prohibition after all, and the characters we meet during the voyage really do make the sting of a horrific crime easier to take. And it doesn’t take Gautreaux long before he relieves the reader that the child is safe and being held by a couple of bunglers and you know that this will come out fine. It’s not about that anyway. It’s more a novel about love and family, human travail, history and hope, and the idea that revenge can take many forms and isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All this with the backdrop of a Mississippi riverboat. You’ll swear you can hear the honky tonk piano and the sax wailing in the style of the twenties. Simply beautiful.

”(Sam) barely had time to sew his vest buttons back on before climbing the bandstand and catching the downbeat from the drummer. The first tune was ‘Japanese Sandman,’ jacked up in tempo, and he felt he was an eighth beat behind everyone else, playing uphill into the alto sax and clarinet duel in the middle. Several young Vicksburg couples began dancing badly, tripping, kicking shins on their turns, and Sam hung on. The next tune was a waltz, and then he got on top of the following foxtrot and stayed there. As the dance deck heated up, sweat began to sting his eyes; then the boat pulled out and the breeze came through, fluttering the bleached tablecloths. Between tunes he watched the floor, looked at faces, tried to read minds, studied the men lurking against the white-enameled stanchions, hoping to see…someone whose face showed inexplicable guilt or longing.” (Page 109)

If you liked The Sisters Brothers you may find this southern version to your liking too. Quirkiness without the violence. Highly recommended. ( )
4 vote brenzi | Jun 13, 2012 |
One of the best novels I read in 2010: this novel is both a mystery and a lovingly told story about the deep south. Shades of Cormac McCarthy, Harper Lee and Truman Capote (The Tree Harp, for example.) You fall in love with the characters and the setting, you get a little choked up at the end, you're sorry it ends. ( )
1 vote ChrisConway | Dec 21, 2011 |
Indie Pick. A child goes missing and his brother looks for him along the MIssissippi River ( )
  fordbarbara | Sep 21, 2010 |
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For my father, Minos Lee Gautreaux, who taught me to love children and steamboats.
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Sam Simoneaux leaned against the ship's rail, holding on in the snarling wind as his lieutenant struggled toward him through the spray, grabbing latches, guy wires, valve handles.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A little girl is abducted from the department store when Sam Simoneaux is on duty.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307270157, Hardcover)

The author of The Clearing (“the finest American novel in a long, long time”—Annie Proulx) now surpasses himself with a story whose range and cast of characters is even broader, with the fate of a stolen child looming throughout.

Sam Simoneaux’s troopship docked in France just as World War I came to an end. Still, what he saw of the devastation there sent him back to New Orleans eager for a normal life and a job as a floorwalker in the city’s biggest department store, and to start anew with his wife years after losing a son to illness. But when a little girl disappears from the store on his shift, he loses his job and soon joins her parents working on a steamboat plying the Mississippi and providing musical entertainment en route. Sam comes to suspect that on the downriver journey someone had seen this magical child and arranged to steal her away, and this quest leads him not only into this raucous new life on the river and in the towns along its banks but also on a journey deep into the Arkansas wilderness. Here he begins to piece together what had happened to the girl—a discovery that endangers everyone involved and sheds new light on the massacre of his own family decades before.

Tim Gautreaux brings to vivid life the exotic world of steamboats and shifting currents and rough crowds, of the music of the twenties, of a nation lurching away from war into an uneasy peace at a time when civilization was only beginning to penetrate a hinterlands in which law was often an unknown force. The Missing is the story of a man fighting to redeem himself, of parents coping with horrific loss with only a whisper of hope to sustain them, of others for whom kidnapping is either only a job or a dream come true. The suspense—and the complicated web of violence that eventually links Sam to complete strangers—is relentless, urgently engaging and, ultimately, profoundly moving, the finest demonstration yet of Gautreaux’s understanding of landscape, history, human travail, and hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

After the devastation in France just as World War I, Sam Simoneaux went back to New Orleans eager for a normal life. But when a little girl disappears from a department store on his shift, he loses his job and soon joins her parents working on a steamboat plying the Mississippi. Sam comes to suspect that on the downriver journey someone had seen this magical child and arranged to steal her away, and this quest leads him not only into this raucous new life on the river, but also on a journey deep into the Arkansas wilderness. Here he begins to piece together what had happened to the girl--a discovery that endangers everyone involved and sheds new light on the massacre of his own family decades before.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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