Before I got my hands on it, I was eager to read what’s inside the book, Nobody is Ever Missing. The title lured into some kind of a positive trap and it still attracts me. Especially with the cover. There are rare times in the life of a reader like me who gets attracted to the cover and the title more than knowing what’s inside the book. I managed to read it on a lonely, starry night while sitting in a singular position. I remember all this because, reading it, brings back that starry night memory.
The novel shows Elyria as a twenty-eight year soap opera writer from Manhattan, married to a math professor and no children. She abandons her home, job, husband and vanishes without a word to New Zealand. She picks a destination, the farm of Werner, a poet she met at a reading in New York, even though Elyria doesn’t like poetry. Werner, however, gives an unexplainable comfort vibe which attracts Elyria and most of his poems are about loneliness. Once arrived at Werner’s farm, Elyria is content with her new life. Soon Werner, decides, Elyria is sad to bear with and she is deposited at the side of the road, alone with herself, nowhere to go.
And so, Elyria continues to travel over the country, tolerating different other characters but not courting closeness. She is fastened by her thoughts such that she ignores other characters. Most characters are like the part of landscape on a canvas, not easy to spot.
Elyria claims through the story never to have connected with her adopted sister, Ruby, who committed suicide years earlier, but her actions reveal a haunting lack of acceptance of that death. Elyria’s husband was Ruby’s professor and the last person to see her alive. Their marriage, soon after Ruby’s death, delineates the beginning of Elyria’s psychic deterioration.
I have to say Lacey’s writing is impressive and her idea behind the book, too. What I am unable to assimilate is her character, Elyria. She is confused, mostly, throughout the novel. It’s an uncomplicated plot, perfect for a single sitting, but with a troubled-with-self character, Elyria. After reading it, I could understand that she is not a monster, created too humane, either by the author, or the character has developed itself in such a formation that it lacks self-trust and is immersed deeply, spirally in thought of escaping the reality by traveling far away and cut out all the connections she had. But that’s not possible, one cannot escape one’s body, mind, and thoughts.
The theme Catherine Lacey has opt for, I am looking to read more of her works in the future.
3 out of 5!