By Tim Gautreaux
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307454683, 384pp.)
Publication Date: March 9, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A masterful novel set in 1920s Louisiana, The Missing is the story of Sam Simoneaux, a floorwalker at a New Orleans department store. When a little girl is kidnapped on Sam’s watch he is haunted by guilt, grief, and ghosts from his own troubled past. Determined to find her, Sam sets out on a journey through a world of music and violence, where riverboats teem with drinking and dancing, and where dark swamplands conceal those who choose to live by their own laws. With the fate of the stolen child looming, The Missing vividly depicts an America lurching away from war, where civilization is only beginning to penetrate the hinterlands, and a man must choose between compassion and vengeance.
Tim Gautreaux is the author of two previous novels and two collections of stories. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Harper’s Magazine, and The New Yorker, as well as in volumes of the O. Henry and The Best American Short Story annuals. A professor emeritus in English at Southeastern Louisiana University, he lives with his family in Hammond.
“[A] wry, sympathetic look at the human heart. . . . It is Gautreaux’s masterpiece, his most powerful novel to date.” — The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
“A thrilling page-turner that crisscrosses the Deep South, Tim Gautreaux’s The Missing is a look at lives that are steeped in loss, and an examination of what it is that we can recover.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Absorbing. . . . A primal story about the meaning of loss, the pull of revenge, and the necessity of healing.” —The Boston Globe
“If you’ve been complaining that nobody writes novels as they used to, this could be your book. . . . Fantastic.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Gautreaux has a mythic sense of plot, a keen ear for dialect and vivid powers of description. . . . [He] is an old-fashioned storyteller, a spinner of yarns with a moral.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Jazz flows through The Missing like another river. . . . A grand story with unconventional heft.” —The Miami Herald
“Remarkable. . . . Mr. Gautreaux has given us a compelling adventure tale with a moral center.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Evocative. . . . Few novels this year will hold so much story, craft and song.” —Winston-Salem Journal
“Gautreaux’s language is as rich as the land he writes about, and he conveys a sense of the wild new jazz music as well as the ageless swamp.” —Boston Phoenix
“The seamless structuring of the classic and the contemporary, of the past and the present, is the mesmerizing magic of The Missing. . . . Exquisite.” —The Anniston Star
“[Gautreaux’s] writing is a masterful mix—beautifully lyrical, yet incredibly authentic. . . . Gautreaux transports readers to a place and time populated by characters who are fully formed, deftly drawn and—for the most part—quite a scary bunch.” —The Beachcomber
“[Gautreaux’s] depiction of the hardscrabble, base lives of the vile people in the country is the best writing about that class of people since Charles Frazier described a similar clan in Cold Mountain.” —Baton Rouge Advocate
“Beautifully detailed. . . . Sentence by sentence, [Gautreaux’s] prose is as accomplished as anything I've read in the past couple of years.” —Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch
“An epic triumph. . . . [The Missing] has the impact of a book twice its length. It’s a dramatic, theatrical meditation on law and lawlessness, guilt and the hollowness of vengeance. . . . The anticipation clutching your throat makes you race towards the novel’s climax.” –The Guardian (UK)