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Whistle in the Dark
Cover of Whistle in the Dark
Whistle in the Dark
A Novel
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Emma Healey follows the success of her #1 internationally bestselling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, with this beautiful, thought-provoking, and...
Emma Healey follows the success of her #1 internationally bestselling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, with this beautiful, thought-provoking, and...
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  • Emma Healey follows the success of her #1 internationally bestselling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, with this beautiful, thought-provoking, and psychologically complex tale that affirms her status as one of the most inventive and original literary novelists today.

    Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent's worst nightmare.

    Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

    Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: "I can't remember."

    For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana's steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

    A wry, poignant, and masterfully drawn story that explores the bonds and duress of family life, the pain of mental illness, and the fraught yet enduring connection between mothers and daughters, Whistle in the Dark is a story of guilt, fear, hope, and love that explores what it means to lose and find ourselves and those we love.

About the Author-

  • Emma Healey grew up in London where she studied for her first degree in bookbinding. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University East Anglia. Her first novel, Elizabeth is Missing, was published to critical acclaim in 2014, became a Sunday Times (London) bestseller and won the Costa First Novel Award. She lives in Norwich, England with her husband and daughter.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2018
    After four agonizing days, Jen and Hugh Maddox's 15-year-old daughter, Lana, has been found, bloodied and soaking wet. But where has she been?Lana herself cannot--or will not--say. The clues are scant: While on a mother-daughter painting course in the English countryside, Lana simply vanished one night and turned up four days later, spotted by a farmer. Did Lana leave voluntarily, or was she taken? Could fellow artist Stephen, a minister of the New Lollards Fellowship, a sect fascinated by visits to hell, have taken her? Or perhaps Matthew, the son of the holiday-center manager, lured Lana away? Remembering how she caught Lana last year with a plastic bag full of painkillers, Jen fears that Lana may have intended to harm herself. After Lana is discharged from the hospital, the Maddoxes return to London and attempt to patch their family back together. Still riddled with questions, Jen begins to investigate. In short, deft narrative fragments, Healey (Elizabeth Is Missing, 2014) captures Jen's piecing together of Lana's fragile psyche. Hoping to find clues, Jen scrutinizes Lana's sketchbook, her Instagram account, and the books hidden under her bed, alarmed to find repeated references to the end of life. With echoes of Demeter's rescue of Persephone, Jen's investigation into what happened over those four days becomes a quest to understand her daughter's mental illness and accept her broken memories. Healey beautifully depicts Lana's sense of unease in her own body: When asked by her therapist to find an image that symbolically represents her discomfort, Lana chooses one of birds, explaining that she feels as if she were full of fluttering birds eager to escape her skin. Along the way, Jen must face her own psychological quirks (including possibly imaginary cats) and walk in Lana's footsteps.An exquisite portrait of a mother's healing love for her troubled daughter.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2018
    In a twist on the standard missing-person plotline, this novel opens with finding a missing teenager. Fifteen-year-old Lana Maddox, on a painting holiday with her mother in England's Peak District, has been missing for four days when she's found with a bloody head wound, bruises, and no apparent memory of her ordeal. But despite their relief, parents Jen and Hugh Maddox know that Lana's past includes depression, self-harming, and suicidal thoughts, and that she has gone missing before. Jen wants answers from her daughter about what occurred, answers that aren't forthcoming, as Lana is alternately distant, insolent, mysterious, and?rarely?approachable to the verge of affectionate. Lana's older sister, Meg, steps in to help, but she has her own concerns; a lesbian who recently broke up with her girlfriend, she's midway through a pregnancy via artificial insemination from a straight male friend. Healey (Elizabeth Is Missing, 2014) fashions this novel in titled sections, ranging in length from a few lines to a few pages, a technique that advances the narration, along with flashbacks, while eliminating extraneous details and building suspense naturally. The result is an absorbing view of a family, with the emphasis on the mother-daughter connection, in which?flaws aside?love shines through.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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