A Guardian / Sunday Times Book of the Year
A spirited, restless fourteen-year-old, Fay, goes missing from a Lincoln council estate. Is she a runaway, or a victim – another face on a poster gradually fading with time? The story of her last few days before she vanishes is interwoven with the varied lives of six locals – whether aware or unaware of her presence or absence, all touched in life-changing ways.
David is an eco-campaigner on a family holiday on the bleak Lincolnshire coast; Howard, a retired steel worker with some dodgy friends; Cosmina, a Romanian immigrant struggling as a care-home nurse; Sheena, middle-aged and single, running a kiddies' clothes shop, is sexually entangled with the peculiar Gavin, while dreaming of Paul, up the lane; Mike, the misanthropic owner of the haunted second-hand bookshop, is secretly in love with Cosmina; and Chris, a TV producer become Trappist monk, can't quite leave the ordinary world behind. All are involuntary witnesses to the lost girl; paths cross, threads touch, connections are made or lost. Is Fay alive or dead? Or somewhere in between?
Adam Thorpe has once again created a cast of brilliant eccentrics bound together by the accident of geography, in a novel of effortlessly elegant prose, forensic observation and resonant power.