Disappeared. Stewart O’Nan’s latest novel, Songs for the Missing, explores a family’s nightmare: the disappearance of a daughter and sister. On her way to work during the summer after her senior year of high school, Kim Larsen disappears. The lives of her parents, Ed and Fran, and 15-year old sister, Lindsay, become consumed with looking for Kim. Each family member deals with Kim’s disappearance in a different way, as do Kim’s closest friends. What O’Nan does so well in this novel is the way in which he allows the missing and the uncertainty to remain constantly present. Days, weeks, months and years go by with the constant presence of the missing Kim. All of what is unknown dominates: is she dead or alive; was she abducted or did she run away; will this horror ever end? A reader can feel each character become numb in one form or another as their agony of their reality sets in over time. Thanks to O’Nan’s fine writing, that numbness is observed, not felt by a reader.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)