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Tim Gautreaux is the author of two previous novels and two collections of stories. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Harper s Magazine, and The New Yorker, as well as in volumes of the O. Henry and The Best American Short Story annuals. A professor emeritus in English at Southeastern Louisiana University, he lives with his family in Hammond."
Bayou shepherd of half-sunk souls, Gautreaux returns to the land of the lost and the lonely in his haunting and transient third book (after The Clearing). Post-WWI Louisiana is a "root-buckled" and "magnolia-haunted" underworld for seedy, drunken mobs and twisted backwoods families. Floating through the chaos is Sam Simoneaux, who, "half dead" after the slaughter of his parents and the later loss of his two-year-old son to fever, undertakes a quest to find a missing girl. Encountering embittered thieves, forlorn vaudevillians and icy bourgeoisie, Simoneaux is a keen observer who can find the one good stitch of humanity in an otherwise sordid tableau, even as his investigation begins to connect back to his family's murders. He is also a refreshingly candid voice, brimming with a lyrical intensity that graces some of the best Southern literature. Though the hasty, romantic wrapup to Sam's investigation and his refusal to exact revenge on his family's murderers-emotionally tepid even through the novel's decisive climax-obscure Gautreaux's finer redemptive tones, Sam's struggle to redeem the memories of his son and parents sustains the book's raw beauty. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
[A] wry, sympathetic look at the human heart. . . . It is Gautreaux s masterpiece, his most powerful novel to date. The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) A thrilling page-turner that crisscrosses the Deep South, Tim Gautreaux s The Missing is a look at lives that are steeped in loss, and an examination of what it is that we can recover. San Francisco Chronicle Absorbing. . . . A primal story about the meaning of loss, the pull of revenge, and the necessity of healing. The Boston Globe If you ve been complaining that nobody writes novels as they used to, this could be your book. . . . Fantastic. The Washington Post Book World Gautreaux has a mythic sense of plot, a keen ear for dialect and vivid powers of description. . . . [He] is an old-fashioned storyteller, a spinner of yarns with a moral. The New York Times Book Review Jazz flows through The Missing like another river. . . . A grand story with unconventional heft. The Miami Herald Remarkable. . . . Mr. Gautreaux has given us a compelling adventure tale with a moral center. The Wall Street Journal Evocative. . . . Few novels this year will hold so much story, craft and song. Winston-Salem Journal Gautreaux s language is as rich as the land he writes about, and he conveys a sense of the wild new jazz music as well as the ageless swamp. Boston Phoenix The seamless structuring of the classic and the contemporary, of the past and the present, is the mesmerizing magic of The Missing. . . . Exquisite. The Anniston Star [Gautreaux s] writing is a masterful mix beautifully lyrical, yet incredibly authentic. . . . Gautreaux transports readers to a place and time populated by characters who are fully formed, deftly drawn and for the most part quite a scary bunch. The Beachcomber [Gautreaux s] depiction of the hardscrabble, base lives of the vile people in the country is the best writing about that class of people since Charles Frazier described a similar clan in Cold Mountain. Baton Rouge Advocate Beautifully detailed. . . . Sentence by sentence, [Gautreaux s] prose is as accomplished as anything I've read in the past couple of years. Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch An epic triumph. . . . [The Missing] has the impact of a book twice its length. It s a dramatic, theatrical meditation on law and lawlessness, guilt and the hollowness of vengeance. . . . The anticipation clutching your throat makes you race towards the novel s climax. The Guardian (UK)"