The Missing by Andrew O'Hagan

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Hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as an “International Book of the Year” on its publication in Britain, The Missing is a fascinating literary meditation on missing persons by the acclaimed young Scottish writer Andrew O’Hagan.

Writing with what one reviewer praised as “passion, eloquence, and honesty,” O’Hagan explores one of society’ most enduring, yet unexamined, concerns—missing persons. He writes movingly of his own grandfather, lost at sea during World War II; of Sandy Davidson, the three-year-old who disappeared from a construction site near O’Hagan’s childhood home; of James Bulger, the toddler abducted from a mall in Liverpool and murdered by two ten-year-olds in 1993; and the twelve young women Fred and Rosemary West murdered and buried in their Gloucester backyard over a period of nearly thirty years.

In all of these cases, O’Hagan goes out with police and meets with social workers and families, always looking for the deeper truths so often left forgotten. What kind of lives did those who have gone missing lead? What made them disappear? What happens to those left behind?

Merging social history, memoir, and reportage, The Missing is one of those rare books that bring a neglected corner of human experience into the public eye, and a memorable debut from an exceptionally perceptive and talented new writer.


About Andrew O'Hagan

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Andrew O'Hagan was born in Glasgow in 1968. A former editor at the London Review of Books, O'Hagan's writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire, Harper's, and Granta. This is his first book.
Published January 1, 1995 by Picador. 244 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Missing

Kirkus Reviews

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He revisits the murder scene of James Bulger, a young boy killed by two 10-year-olds, and recounts episodes of his own cruelty, as a child, toward other children.

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The Guardian

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The second excavates the phenomenon of what the police term "mispers" – missing persons, people who sometimes have chosen to disappear and sometimes have not – among them, the victims of mass-murderer Frederick West.

Sep 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Missing

The Guardian

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Andrew O'Hagan's 1994 debut The Missing was an arresting, genre-defying work – part speculative memoir, part Orwellian social reportage – that investigated the phenomenon of displaced persons.

Sep 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Missing

Publishers Weekly

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If Jamie and Hugh are too strong as individuals (and political animals) to reconcile completely, Jamie's watch over Hugh's last days gives him enough perspective to allow him to reestablish contact with his estranged father.

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Publishers Weekly

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This remarkable book defies simple classification. Although ostensibly a study of missing persons (both from the perspective of the missing and those left behind), it is also an autobiography, an inve

Oct 02 1996 | Read Full Review of The Missing

The Telegraph

The dramatisation of Andrew O'Hagan's first book The Missing is a profound act of mourning and memory, says Sarah Crompton.

Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Missing


The Missing - review Clare Brennan Stage Clare Brennan The Guardian Read other users' reviews Lucy Skaer, Botticelli and Jeff Koons - the week in art Barry Flanagan Botticelli Graham Fagen Jeff Koons Lucy Skaer ...

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