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Elizabeth Is Missing (2014)

by Emma Healey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,9881498,215 (3.85)212
Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MYSTERY WHEN YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

In this darkly riveting debut novelâ??a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and agingâ??an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memoryâ??and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maudâ??not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Eli… (more)

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» See also 212 mentions

English (138)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Latvian (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  French (1)  All languages (149)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
Such a delighted character we have in Maude when she is young but especially when she is 80 and her memory is failing but she is determined to figure out where her friend Elizabeth is and what happened to her sister Sukey. But no one will listen to an old lady with dementia. Her long suffering daughter Helen, thankfully looks after her. There’s great humor in this novel, great empathy and it’s a great reminder to us all how a person with dementia can feel.
Novel moves from post war Britain to present. ( )
  Smits | Jan 7, 2024 |
Elizabeth is Missing as a whole was a very interesting book. At the same time, it's one of those books that can get emotionally draining after a while. I say this because my grandmother suffers from Alzheimer (which I assumed is what the protagonist suffers from) and throughout the book I caught glimpses of her which was painful sometimes.

However, the plot was very captivating and the authors does a good job of giving enough information to keep the reader interested. I will say this about the book, it's well worth the read. It's an unexpectedly enthralling book that constantly has you thinking about what happened, and what is going to happen.

I love that the author weaved in the past with the present, using trigger objects for the protagonist, making you wonder if the protagonist is verbally reciting everything that she is reliving, or if it simply being replayed in her memory.

Over all, I recommend this book to those who feel that they can take on an emotionally heavy book. ( )
  KrabbyPattyCakes | Dec 3, 2023 |
This follows the story of Maud, an elderly woman with dementia who is convinced her friend Elizabeth is missing even though no one believes her.

The story is told in two timelines: current day, and the late 1940s, when Maud's sister Sukey goes missing.

I really enjoyed this one and seeing how the two stories were connected in Maud's mind. It had a couple of really funny bits, considering the subject, but was also sad, of course.

I thought the pacing was mostly good, but I do wish the ending had had a bit more of a twist to it.

Note: There was a fair amount of profanity in this one. ( )
  RachelRachelRachel | Nov 21, 2023 |
This is a book about friendship. And love. So well written. I couldn't put it down so I stayed up almost all night to finish it. It made me cry, and I will never think about dementia the same way again. This book has made me much more understanding. ( )
  Maryjane75 | Sep 30, 2023 |
Memento for the octogenarian set.

Quite unsettling and sad at times as you experience the story through Maud's muddled viewpoint; trying to solve the mystery of her missing friend as well as a mystery from her past, while no one around her takes her concerns seriously.

Engaging, though occasionally frustrating reading
( )
  FarrelNZ | Jul 26, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
It's a very good novel and highly impressive for a debut. It's a rare imagining of a character pushing 90 years of age who has either severe Alzheimer's or just everyday senility (we never quite know) ... this book is an interesting exercise in genre, comparable to Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, not quite crime, not quite literary fiction, a "hybrid" work.... There's a lot here to praise, admire and enjoy. But ultimately this is a novel for readers who love unreliable narrators instead of being infuriated by them.
added by KayCliff | editThe Guardian, Viv Groskop (Jun 8, 2014)
 
Normally a well-observed, literary novel that accurately shows us ourselves by deepening our knowledge of what it is to be human cannot manage, as well, to be both a comedy and a thriller. Elizabeth is Missing, however, encompasses these genres and deserves prizes in all categories.... Not only have we several genres in the one novel, we have two main themes. How it feels to experience dementia, and a page-turner of a detective story. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be beautiful. It is a gripping thriller, but it's also about life and love: the love of an exasperated daughter for her mother; the love of sisters and of friends and the love I felt for Maud.
 
British author Emma Healey’s debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing, is an engaging and beautifully written description of a mystery-within-a mystery.... Elizabeth is Missing is hard to put down, and Maud is an utterly likeable narrator. The novel launched a rare and justified bidding war among publishers after 29-year-old Healey submitted sections of the book as her MA thesis, which was then nominated for an award that a literary agent judged. Publishers were captivated by Healey’s light touch and lively phrases, married to her heart-breaking and accurate portrayal of what it must be like to feel your mind slipping away....
 
The story eagerly tugs the reader from chapter to chapter, but the book succeeds more on the strength of its main character than the intrigues of its plot....But Healey resists turning her into a tragic figure, instead showcasing Maud’s pluck and wicked sense of humour. .... But by design, the reader cares. It’s vital to the reader – it’s the whole point. Like Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Elizabeth is Missing is a redeeming force for its main character, even if she’ll never know it.
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emma Healeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bentinck, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To my grandmothers,
Vera Healey and Nancy Rowand,
for inspiring this book.
First words
Prologue

Maud? Was I boring you so much that you'd rather stand outside in the dark?
Chapter 1

You know there was an old woman mugged around here?" Carla says, letting her long, black ponytail snake over one shoulder. "Well, actually, it was Weymouth, but it could have been here, So you see, you can't be too careful. They found her with half her face smashed in."
Quotations
Now I have plenty of time to look at everything, and no one to tell what I've seen. (p. 9)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A MYSTERY WHEN YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE CLUES?

In this darkly riveting debut novelâ??a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and agingâ??an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memoryâ??and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maudâ??not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Eli

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Book description
Haiku summary
The maze of Maud's mind
holds the answer to a long-
forgotten puzzle.
(passion4reading)

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