Within three pages of picking up this first novel, I knew I was in the hands of a clever, witty writer with complete control of the uneven field she’d taken on. Placing the narrator of a book in the throes of dementia creates a number of challenges. But as the story of the 82 year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer unfolds, we understand her story, and get drawn into the real mystery behind the misunderstanding. As long-ago memories surface amongst her broken grasp on the present, Maud begins to confuse the absence of her best friend, Elizabeth, with the disappearance of her sister, seventy years before. Is something sinister going on now – and has she finally found the clues to resolve the past?
Emma Healey studied at the UEA, and we’re not surprised that this hugely readable, engaging, thought-provoking novel has just been long-listed for this year’s Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction.