Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it.
She sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger. But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: Her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, Maud will get to the bottom of it.
©2014 Emma Healey (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd
I have recommended this book to several of my friends and family.
Well, Maud of course, but also the granddaughter who was so kind to her when everyone else was treating her like a silly old woman. She didn't assume that Maud had lost her sense of humour just because she was old.
All of them! They were all well rounded characters and either lovable or loath-able (is that even a word?) The range of 'Maud voices' was very well done and gave great depth to the story.
Maud, Helen and Peter - was that man annoying or what! Such a pompous windbag - I wanted to give him a good slap!
The only thing that I kept on thinking was, why didn't Maud make a note of Elizabeth's whereabouts once she knew of them? She wrote everything else she wanted to remember down, but not that most important thing ... but then, there wouldn't have been this wonderful story.
Love the outdoors and like to spirit a good book or audiobook into my pack. Live in the bush, grow much of my food and make stuff by hand.
As the daughter of a 91 year-old widow who still thinks her mind is sharp as a tack, I found this book particularly poignant. The author shows great insight into the mind of her heroine, its intertwining of past and present and the confusion of drifting between the two. The portrayal is sensitive and sympathetic, suggesting familiarity with the problems of encroaching dementia. The interwoven story of Maud's youth and the mystery which has left its mark on her emotions is wonderfully told and delightfully connected with her perceptions of the present day. Her distress at being unable to find her only friend, so important to older people who have lost just about everyone else in their lives, is very real. The conclusion to the mystery is a wonderful culmination to the book, which can have no happy endings. I enjoyed the way details of present objects led to recollections of the past and connected the two stories together.
The narration of this book was particularly outstanding. Anna Bentinck gave every character their own, recognisable voice and her portrayal of Maud, the central character, was sensitive and appropriate. I really enjoyed this book and would look for others by the author and narrator.
Addictive - thought-provoking - mystery
That would give the story away!
I think her voice was just right. She got Maud's vocal age very well.
Both. Made me think a lot.
Look forward to another book!
"Elizabeth is missing"
One of the top stories I have listened to. two.women missing 50 years apart a whodunit with a difference!
The main character is searching for Elizabeth whilst suffering the beginnings of Dementia
Her reliance upon slips of paper to work as an aide memoir, dated but what happens when you don't remember the date or if you have already acted upon what's on the paper
Anna brings the characters and story to life with the feeling that you are a character within the story
The main characters narration and her sudden confusion as to who this woman in front of her is.
The story itself takes the listener into how it must be for somebody suffering from dementia and how sometimes she will recognise her daughter and grand daughter then suddenly wonder who these people are.
Although the character is suffering from dementia, the actual story is about two missing Somerset gif th years apart. It is a who done it with many red herrings and twists that when the story ends you are left wanting to remain and hear more.
Wonderful thought provoking enjoyable adventure
Never judge a book by its cover ....is so true of this book
"A distressingly human story so well told"
How frail we are! The narration was wonderful, depicting Maud as an increasingly disturbed lady and a young innocent girl. I think I knew the outcome but wondered how it would resolve. I have to say I found the story and the telling deeply depressing but would have felt almost cowardly to "look away" as we so often do in society. Hopefully this will be made into a film to further increase our understanding of dementia in all its forms. Well done to Emma Healey for a brave story.
Maud has dementia but whilst she struggles to remember what she needs to buy in the shops, where she lives or even fails to recognise her own daughter, she clings to her belief that something has happened to her best friend Elizabeth. The problem is she can't remember what she has found out and she keeps forgetting quite what she is trying to do. As she continues to try and find her missing friend, older memories haunt her and a much older mystery begins to rise to the surface.
This book had me hooked from the opening chapter. The whole story is told from Maud's point of view so we really share her confusion and empathise with her struggle to pull all the clues together. The narrator does a superb job, moving effortlessly between the elderly and younger Maud. I laughed out loud at times but was unbearably moved at others.
I can't recommend this book enough.
"Really engaging story"
This book works really well in audio, you get a real sense of the spiral into dementia of the main character, and her desperately trying to hang on to shreds of sense.
A real split between the old and new Elizabeth and a sense of how horrendous it is to start to lose your mind, by the way she jumps between past and present and repetition of the past.
This book really made me think about what it is like to get old and start losing your memories.
"Such a beautiful book"
In the absolute top.
The story line is both moving and gripping, the language flows easily and the desperation of the old woman looking for her missing friend is touching.
The reading is sublime - both the voices of the young and the old protagonist is perfectly narrated.
The story made me laugh out lough several times...and well up too.
"Great audio narrative but book was too long"
I had high hopes for this book, as the media buzz around it seemed to be very favourable.
The plot itself is good, (although I had guessed the ending 2/3rd in). Some of the descriptions of the relentless downward spiral a dementia sufferer, (both from the point of view of the protagonist and of her daughter ) were very well observed, and this worked well alongside the counter story of the younger Maud and the mystery of the disappearance of her sister Sukey some sixty years earlier . I do feel however that the book was too long and took too much time to get to each point within the storyline, this sadly was distracting and spoilt my enjoyment of the progression of the story. I don't think that my negative points can be laid at the door of the debut novel of the writer, Emma Healey. The editor however, should have been more ruthless. This is just my opinion and judging by other reviews I have seen, not one shared by most.
Very good First novel, but needed abridging
Anna Bentinck has just become my new favourite audio reader...with Elizabeth is Missing, she made subtle changes to each age of Maud, we were listening too. Each of the other characters she portrayed made me forget I was listening to one actress ...The book needed to be edited and if it wasn't for this brill audio performance . I would have stopped before the end
No not really
"Sensitive subject brought to life"
The sense of the main character's decline across the book, and the anxiety it brings out in the reader was incredibly deft and sensitively and accurately done.
Pretty wayward, but the world created most reminded of Franz Kafka's The Trial, with a single character roaming round and trying to make sense of the authorities. Except here, in this rather lighter-than-Kafka book, everyone is smiling and being kind to our central character, which is somehow just as claustrophobic.
That where the central character was housed at her daughter's house, and her granddaughter started to take care of her.
I think in the early stages, when Healey is setting out early instances of the main character's condition, when she comes to put a cup of tea down for a moment, and finds a row of cold cups of tea already there. Such a mournful, simple, beautifully rendered moment.
I feel I should point out one or two weaknesses: the scenes with Elizabeth's overbearing son did not ring true, and I feel the narrator really struggled with these,
"A bit too long drawn out for me"
I wouldn't recommend it strongly. It's ok if you are happy with a plot that's somewhat repetitive and which takes a while to unwind. The premise underlying the plot and the various underlying themes and parallels between 1946 and the present day were very clever, but the repetitive nature (which reflects the old lady's confused mental state) began to grate after a bit. V clever portrayal of Alzheimer's it has to be said.
The portrayal of Maude at different stages of her life was very good indeed - particularly as a confused older lady. The other female characters were also pretty good but the male characters didn't really work for me
Yes I think so. They'd need to up the pace and I think that could be done. Would work v well with lots if flashbacks between the past and the present
"magic and eyeopening"
yes, eventually i will
the writing style reminds me of rachel joyce, for some reason, but i wouldn't compare the book to another one.
one of the police station trips when maud reads of thieves operating '24/7' and wonders how the manage and when they sleep. such a matter-of-fact thought.
the whole book is incredibly poignant, sad, bittersweet. when maud begins to fail to recognise her own daughter it's truly heartbreaking
this is not a work of fiction. i mean, it is, but the way dementia is portrayed in it is genuine and eyeopening
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