The Missing World
  • The Missing World
  • The Missing World

The Missing World

3.5 2
by Margot Livesey

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What if--by a stroke of fortune--you could start afresh, could wipe away that catastrophic blunder in your past? And to what lengths would you go to establish that in fact you'd done nothing wrong at all? After an accident robs Hazel of three years' worth of memory, just such an opportunity is granted to her ex-boyfriend Jonathan. What follows is a brilliant

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What if--by a stroke of fortune--you could start afresh, could wipe away that catastrophic blunder in your past? And to what lengths would you go to establish that in fact you'd done nothing wrong at all? After an accident robs Hazel of three years' worth of memory, just such an opportunity is granted to her ex-boyfriend Jonathan. What follows is a brilliant inverted love story: one man's desperate attempts to realize and rationalize a lie, and a woman's harrowing attempts to recognize the truth.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
An enthralling novel . . . that makes you feel as well as think.
The Boston Globe
Delicate and terrifying . . . a modern-day Rebecca.
The Washington Post Book World
The sort of old-fashioned tale that Maugham would have admired—its thrills are understated, delicious, and not to be missed. . . . [Livesey's] style recalls the early, best Hitchcock, as evil unfolds in the most commonplace of circumstances.
The San Diego Union-Tribune
A page-turner: suspenseful, crisp, beautifully crafted . . . Livesey is a riveting storyteller as masterful as Patricia Highsmith or Ruth Rendell.
The New Yorker
Darkly humorous . . . a Shakespearean comedy with Murdochian overtones.
Library Journal
When Hazel Ransome, a freelance journalist, is hit by a car and loses her memory of the past three years, her ex-lover Jonathan seizes the opportunity to gain a second chance with her. As Hazel convalesces in the London home they shared for four years, Jonathan, an insurance claims adjuster and bee-keeper, tries desperately to keep her from discovering the mistake he made that caused her to leave him the previous year. When her best friend, Maud, fails to help her piece together the events of her recent past, Hazel finds unlikely allies in two fellow Londoners who are struggling to keep their own too-vivid memories from overwhelming them. Livesey (Criminals), a native of Scotland, spins a suspenseful tale full of bright, believable characters. Recommended for all fiction collections.--Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

The outside door was open. Rushing up the stairs, he pictured Hazel unconscious on the floor, clutching the phone. He would carry her into the bedroom and hold a cool cloth to her forehead until she opened her eyes and begged him to lie down beside her. As soon as he unlocked the door of her flat, Jonathan knew this was the easy version. Sounds he could not parse into sense came from the living-room. "Hello," he said, not loud enough to be heard.

He stopped to pick up the phone, beeping on the hall floor, and went slowly into the living-room. Hazel was lurching away from him across the carpet, as if her legs were of different lengths or different substances, one wax, one lead. A table lamp, directly in her passage, fell to the floor. She was wearing a black pullover and, surprisingly, a blue skirt he had given her.

"Hazel," he said.

She reached the wall but still she did not stop. She kept walking until she was pressed right up against it, her toes nudging the skirting board, her thighs moving in a parody of an exercise machine. She raised her hands and began to claw at the plaster, her fingers scraping the magnolia paint, over and over.

When at last she turned around, he would not have recognised her. The whole shape of her face had changed. Her cheeks were puffy; her eyes, always so large and luminous, were rolling back in their sockets; saliva frothed her lips, and even her jaw seemed to undulate oddly. Only her fine, feathery hair was the same. "Barasingha," she said in an unnaturally deep voice.

Jonathan fled. In the hall he seized the phone and dialled Emergency.

"Which service do you require: police, fire, orambulance?"

"Ambulance," he shouted. And then he was speaking to a calm-voiced woman. Next to the phone was a bookcase, and as he recited the address he caught sight of the faded binding of Ovid's Metamorphoses, his second gift to her, squeezed between The Poems of Rumi and A Guide to Seashore Birds; at least she hadn't thrown it away.

"How long will it be?" he asked, but the operator was gone.

At the prospect of returning to the living-room, dread washed over him. Whoever was staggering back and forth, that person, that creature, was not Hazel. Barasingha? It sounded exotic: a small monkey, perhaps, or a complicated curry. He touched the spine of Metamorphoses, the gold lettering almost gone.

"Anything," he vowed, "I'll do anything to get her back again." His fingertips came away flecked with gold.

Hazel had sunk to her knees and was scrabbling at the wall, a desperate prisoner. Cautiously he knelt beside her and reached his arms around her, then almost let go. Deep, uneven zigzags were leaping through her, not like the vibrations of cold or grief but rather as if she were plugged into some wayward generator. He tightened his grip against the shocks. She continued to claw the paint. "Hazel," he pleaded, "stop it. Please, stop!"

Like the beginning of an answer came the faint seesawing of a siren

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Missing World 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Manipulation of the Perfect World

The art of forgetting can be a gift and a burden. Margot Livesey's, The Missing World is exactly that. She addresses the good of amnesia and can link it to the bad. She takes two peoples lives and turns them upside down to where they are being manipulated.
Jonathan, a simple man whom is desperate to get back together with Hazel, whom is a sweet gentle minded person, walks in on her having seizures. He rushes her to the hospital where she is unconscious for over two weeks. When she finally comes to, Hazel can not remember anything from the past three years. Thus she forgets the fact that Jonathan had betrayed her. Seeking this as an opportunity to get back with Hazel, Jonathan convinces Hazels family to let her live with him again. They are reluctant and allow this.
With the plot steaming up as Hazel lives not knowing, Livesey adds a few other characters. You have Charlotte who is a distressed actress trying to get by, helping Hazel remember the past acting she used to do. Freddie, an African-American that is sent to fix Jonathans roof, whom thinks of Hazel as "a princess in a tower" and he must save her. The final character she throws in to make the plots dark corners even more suspenseful, is Mr. Early. These characters add humor and constent suspense for they are always trying to save Hazel from Jonathan.
Jonathan starts to realize that things are not going quite as he had planed and becomes very edgy with anyone whom poses a threat to his plan of keeping Hazel. Livesey throws another turn when she allows the reader to know how Hazel is starting to see Jonathan's true colors and starts to dig up what her seizure has made her not remember.
The Missing World, by Margot Livesey has some very interesting twist and turns. You have people constantly breathing down each others necks and great comic relief. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to find out if "forgetfulness sets us free."