ELIZABETH IS MISSING

Emma Healey

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and

doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops

and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is

unrecognizable—or her daughter, Helen, seems 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, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

more …

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and

doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops

and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is

unrecognizable—or her daughter, Helen, seems 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, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an

unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud . . .

A page-turning story of suspense, Elizabeth Is Missing hauntingly reminds

us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often

poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable

novel.

less …
  • Harper Perennial
  • Paperback
  • June 2015
  • 320 Pages
  • 9780062309686

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About Emma Healey

Emma Healey holds a degree in bookbinding and

an MA in creative writing. Elizabeth Is Missing is her first novel. She lives

in the United Kingdom.

Praise

“[A] spellbinding first novel.”—New York Times Book Review

“[A] knockout debut. . . . Ms. Healey’s audacious conception and formidable

talent combine in a bravura performance that sustains its momentum and

pathos to the last.”—Wall Street Journal

Elizabeth is Missing will stir and shake you.”—Emma Donoghue

“Ingeniously structured and remarkably poignant, Elizabeth is Missing is a

riveting story of friendship and loss that will have you compulsively puzzling

fact from fiction as you race to the last page.”Kimberly McCreight,

New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia

Discussion Questions

What interesting and complex narrative effects result from

the narrator having such difficulty with her memory?

How does the consistent shift from present to past affect

the telling of the story? How does the author transition

between them?

In Chapter 1 there are several allusions to Little Red Riding Hood. In

what ways might this fairy tale be relevant to the story?

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?

What is the difference between something or someone being missing,

lost, or gone? Consider various points of view.

In what relevant ways does the war—and all the lengthy separations it

causes—affect the people and relationships in the novel?

What is the importance and effect of “the mad woman” throughout

the novel?

Both Douglas and Frank seemingly have moments of menace and

kindness. Compare and contrast them.

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.”

What does the subject of Maud’s childhood illness add to the story?

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?

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?

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?

Consider the Epilogue. What is the effect of ending the novel with the

lyric swirl of Maud’s receding memories?