Tim Gautreaux ‘The Missing’

Following my visit to the Festival America’ at Vincennes in September I said I’d keep you posted When I had read ‘The Missing’.
With Christmas looming up I decided to treat myself to this book, as I mentioned in a previous post, Tim Gautreaux lives in and his writing breathes Louisiana, I read ‘The Missing’ in English but it has also been translated recently into French ‘Nos Disparus’.


I decided to illustrate the book with the French cover, a beautiful photo and relevant to the story.

This is a meandering story, as is the Mississippi that Tim Gautreaux conjures up for us in this book, there are two types of ‘missing’, the obvious is the little girl who is abducted and sold and for whom the search is the story of the book, and the ever-present ‘missing’, the dead, a group which grows in numbers during the book.

How do people deal with loved ones that are torn from them? This is the central theme of the book, from blind revenge through slow acceptance and including forgetting completely and having to face the buried truth.

The story flows from one event and place to another and sometimes seems to double back on itself (meanders), as the chief protagonist Sam Simoneaux, or Lucky as he is known follows the Mississippi first one way and then the next in ‘The Ambassador’, a big old river boat or on the train. With the story’s climax taking place on an island in the Mississippi

The description of the riverboat, with its ‘negro’ jazz band taking jazz from New Orleans up the river into red neck country where the boat either represented the only way to spend money all year for some, a dancing opportunity for others and a way of drinking during prohibition for all.

Life is a struggle and you can’t undo things that you have done is a lesson learnt by the different characters in the book.

A beautiful description of time and place and warmly recommended.

2 thoughts on “Tim Gautreaux ‘The Missing’”

  1. Thank you for having recommended this book!
    I enjoyed reading and discovering this story, which settled in the beginning of the 20th in the US among rednecks and jazz bands.
    The characters were interesting and it was a “fresh message” (after a lot of simple polar’ thinking ) : no place for revenge and build your life (as you can…).

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