Among the Missing: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 21 2011
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Advance praise for Among the Missing
“This remarkable novel has an abundance of suspense at its core, put forth in beautiful prose that all but glows on the page….The author keeps a jittery tension going as the novel spins toward its violent, grand-scaled finale. Like most thrillers with a literary bent, this one spends time with the thoughts and feelings of the characters. In lesser hands, this can be stultifying, especially if the people aren’t that interesting. But these two women have fascinating inner lives, and Joss details them in vivid, propulsive language.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“A haunting, harrowing punch to the heart, Among the Missing is flat-out brilliant. About the secrets we keep, the lives we are desperate to live, and the chances we miss, it’s a psychological dazzler. Truly, one of my favorite books of this year—or any year.”
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
“Morag Joss has composed a thought-provoking pageturner, enwrapped it in beautiful language, and drawn characters you will be unable to shake. Among the Missing vividly displays both the loveliness and the tragic consequences that can arise from the freedom to start over.
What Alice Sebold did for grief, Morag Joss has done for reconcilement.”
—David Cristofano, author of The Girl She Used to Be
“Morag Joss is a writer who knows the old truth that genuine suspense comes not from car chases or gunplay, but from the clash of conflicting hearts. Her latest novel, Among the Missing, is evidence not of a rising talent, but of one already fully formed.”
—Thomas H. Cook, author of The Fate of Katherine Carr
“Vivid, intelligently written and thought-provoking, Among the Missing is a twisty and unputdownable novel. The high-wire tension builds with such subtlety and finesse that you won't feel the shock of the ending until it's already upon you.”
—Linda Castillo, author of Breaking Silence
"Morag Joss's haunting and beautifully written novel about the disenfranchised will pull you under, into the watery psyches of her characters. Told in their own distinct voices, their stories--individual and collective--will have you riveted to the stunning end."
—Heather Sharfeddin, author of Damaged Goods
"Like a ticking bomb, Morag Joss's Among the Missing peels away the layers of human deception until what we are left with is a picture of ourselves. Among the Missing is the best thriller I've read in years. Stunning and horrific, gentle yet terrifying, all at the same time. I loved this novel."
—Robert Ellis, author of The Lost Witness
“This beautifully nuanced tale of intertwined lives, loves and losses should be read slowly, the better to savor Morag Joss’s exquisite prose. I tried…but the inexorable ticking of the tightly-wound plot had me racing to the end.”
—Vicki Lane, author of Under the Skin
“The harrowing collapse of a Scottish bridge links three lost souls as they lurch toward an even more horrifying finale….Joss builds the relationships among her sad trio slowly, through excruciatingly subtle modulations of tone. But the ending fully justifies every intimation of imminent doom.”
“Joss’ beautiful, evocative novel is filled with tension and suspense….this is a spectacular psychological thriller.”
—Romantic Times Book Review
About the Author
Morag Joss is the author of several novels, including the CWA Silver Dagger winner Half Broken Things, which was also adapted as a film for U.K. national television. In 2008 she was the recipient of a Heinrich Böll Fellowship, and in 2009 she was nominated for an Edgar Award for her sixth novel, The Night Following. She is currently at work on her eighth novel, Our Picnics in the Sun, to be published by Delacorte Press.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
SPOILER ALERT. Silva comes unhinged and takes the baby to the middle of the river with the intention of drowning them both. Annabel is bleeding--"too much blood"--on the shore after delivery. At the last minute, Silva makes a call to Ron, saying... well, we never find that out, but Ron does come to the rescue, with Annabel's estranged husband in tow. He apparently rescues Silva and the baby, and the last thing Annabel hears are male voices and people sloshing ashore. The end.
Now, I don't require that stories be tied up in a bow at the end; some ambiguity is fine. But I would have liked to know a little more! Annabel could have had some conflict about Ron vs Colin, and that could have been left unresolved... but did she live or die, for heaven's sake? Does Silva come back from the brink? Has Ron's relationship with the two women changed him so he is able to live in the world, or does he just fade back into the night?
If the author is setting up for a sequel, that's kind of a cheap trick. And if not, couldn't she have written one more chapter?
This book charts the intersection between an illegal immigrant family and a middle-aged woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. The lives of all are intertwined when a Scottish bridge collapses, destroying one family and creating a new one.
The writing is haunting, evocative and almost poetic at times. Joss has a tremendous gift for taking an unlikely scenario and making it seem not only plausible but downright historical -- you're surprised to remember that this didn't really all happen.
A very well-written book, with an ending twist that one can't possibly review, which is frustrating, as I would so like to know what other readers thought!
The primary characters in the books are damaged people with poor social skills. Ron is a former bus driver, recently imprisoned for causing an accident in which a pregnant woman and six children were killed. Abandoned by his friends and family, Ron becomes a drifter, finding solace only in driving. "Annabel" is a middle-aged woman who, after spending most of her life alone and caring for her parent, marries a man she meets in an on-line chat room. Unused to being with people, and longing to be loved, "Annabel" unexpectedly becomes pregnant, only to learn her new husband is adamantly opposed to having children. Silva is a married woman with a young, adored child, working for a pittance at a small, untidy store. Silva and her husband are also illegal immigrants and homeless, sheltering in an abandoned squat.
These three very different people are thrust together when a local bridge collapses. Silva's husband and child are missing but not counted among the dead; "Annabel" is counted as missing but is actually at Silva's house, and Ron, finding work locally, also begins helping the two women and inserting himself into their lives. As the story progresses, "Annabel's" pregnancy becomes obvious, Silva slowly begins to go mad with loss, and Ron begins to find a place in the world.
The eventual ending is simultaneously violent, uplifting, and tragic. Although I didn't always enjoy reading Among the Missing, the story and the characters are not ones easy to forget.
Chapters written in the first person from the perspective of each woman, interposed with chapters written in the third person that focus on Ron, skillfully engage readers by meting out insights into the characters' lives and thoughts, gradually revealing what they are and are not capable of and how they change within the action of the book. Joss uses the natural environment -- particularly the river -- and the man-made environment -- particularly the re-building of the bridge and the "homes" where the women live -- to underline the emotions of her characters; both environments impact the characters' thoughts and actions.
The novel is reminiscent of Sophie Hannah, Minette Walters, Tana French, and other authors who are so skilled at hooking readers on characters. Although the title of the book seems straightforward early on, its meaning can be interpreted on several levels. The book raises a number of issues, including if and how individuals can change and how our involvement with self colors the way we view others.
Among the Missing is a difficult book to review without giving away too much of the plot. The novel is both psychological study and psychological thriller. The author teases readers into following the path of the plot, luring them gradually and irresistibly into twists and turns down a road that leads to a stunning climax. It is a book that will be hard for me to forget.