Elizabeth Is Missing (Paperback)

By Emma Healey

Harper Perennial, 9780062309686, 320pp.

Publication Date: June 2, 2015



In this darkly riveting debut novel--a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging--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 memory--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 Maud--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 Elizabeth?

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. What interesting and complex narrative effects result from the narrator having such difficulty with her memory?generic viagra price canada
  2. How does the consistent shift from present to past affect the telling of the story? How does the author transition between them?generic viagra price canada
  3. In Chapter 1 there are several allusions to Little Red Riding Hood. In what ways might this fairy tale be relevant to the story?generic viagra price canada
  4. Carla, one of Maud’s caregivers, often tells of horrible crimes she’s read about in the news. What does this add to the novel? How does it affect Maud?generic viagra price canada
  5. What is the difference between something or someone being missing, lost, or gone? Consider various points of view.generic viagra price canada
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  8. Both Douglas and Frank seemingly have moments of menace and kindness. Compare and contrast them.generic viagra price canada
  9. In Chapter 10, Maud, having forgotten what room she was headed to, says, “I must be going mad.” Compare and contrast her with “the mad woman.”generic viagra price canada
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  11. Throughout her life, but especially once her sister Sukey goes missing, Maud collects random, found objects. How do physical objects come to possess meaning or value?generic viagra price canada
  12. At one point, speaking to Frank, Maud denies she has secrets, but then admits to liking the idea. How might secrets be important? How can they be unhealthy?generic viagra price canada
  13. Late in the novel, Maud touches something of her sister’s and says, “The contact makes it possible to breathe again.” What is she experiencing?generic viagra price canada
  14. Consider the Epilogue. What is the effect of ending the novel with the lyric swirl of Maud’s receding memories?generic viagra price canada