'An intricately crafted novel, sharp-eared, current and full of heart' Guardian, Books of the Year
A spirited fourteen-year-old, Fay, goes missing from a Lincoln council estate. Is she a runaway, or a victim – another face on a poster gradually fading with time? The story of her last few days before she vanishes is interwoven with the varied lives of six locals – all touched in life-changing ways.
David is on a family holiday on the bleak Lincolnshire coast; Howard, a retired steel worker with some dodgy friends; Cosmina, a Romanian immigrant; Sheena, middle-aged and single, running a kiddies’ clothes shop; Mike, owner of a second-hand bookshop and secretly in love with Cosmina; and Chris, a TV-producer-become-monk struggling to leave the ordinary world behind. All are involuntary witnesses to the lost girl; paths cross, threads touch, connections are made or lost. Is Fay alive or dead? Or somewhere in between?
Twenty-five years on from his spectacular debut novel, Ulverton, Thorpe has produced a book that resembles and rivals it… With tremendous flair, Thorpe opens up a vista of present-day middle England.
An intricately crafted novel, sharp-eared, current and full of heart.
Missing Fay…presents entwined provincial lives with illuminating precision, its prose textured, its structure intricate… He is alert to every English linguistic twitch, every slippery folk-meme. He’s a writer’s writer, and I wish he were a reader’s writer too.
Is Thorpe Britain’s most underrated writer? Having just re-read his 1992 classic novel Ulverton, I say he has to be in the running
Thorpe is a master of quiet ironies, of exquisite detail… This is a mysterious, lucent novel, compelling in its tautness, devastating in its wisdom. I hope it wins prizes.