Michael's Reviews > The Missing

The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
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Feb 20, 10

bookshelves: award-winner-or-nominee, collectible, historical, mystery, own-it, read-in-2010, reviewed, signed-edition
Read from February 10 to 12, 2010

It's New Orleans at a time just after WWI. Sam Simoneaux returns from the war, not engaging in action buy experiencing the horrific aftermath of the conflict. He's ready for a quiet life and accepts a job as a floor walker at a department store. A little girl is kidnapped from the store when he is on duty and he loses his job.

Having lost a child himself, he is anguished by the parents' pain. He accepts a job, joining them on a steamboat providing entertainment along the Mississippi waters. Sam feels that he could search for the missing child when the boat stops at towns along the river.

As Sam's search continues, the author's rich description of life along the river banks draws the reader's interest and imagination. We observe the hard working men and women drawn to the boat by the sounds of the calliope.

Sam follows a lead to a family named Shadlock. What happens next makes Sam grateful that he's still alive.

Sam is a haunted character but admirable for his compassion, bravery and determination.

The Mississippi is also a character as the reader experiences the life of the people along its shores. We see the lawlessness, the excitement that the musical steamboat brings to the farmers, saw millers, and hillbillies along the river's edge. In this manner, there is a resmeblance to "Cold Mountain" and Inman's odyssey through war torned south to reach a land of peace with his love.

Among the other characters, Ralph Shadlock, who bemoaned the loss of his dog more than that of his mother, was the most memorable.

The plot tells of a time and place in history, rich with folklore and life of the past. It provides a vivid piciture of the music, prejudice and difficulties of the times.
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Reading Progress

02/10/2010 page 52
13.87% "The streets on his way home were fogbound, and the live oaks sucked the light out of the streetlamps."

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