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by Evan Hunter
Orion, July 2003
208 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 0752857118

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

How many books does the average person read in a year? Five, twenty, over a hundred? No matter how many books you read they tend to blend together making them all seem to be the same. On rare occasions, there will be one book that stands out, makes you go Wow!, and want to recommend to everyone. For me, it was Evan Hunter's (a.k.a. Ed McBain's) novel THE MOMENT SHE WAS GONE. It is definitely on my top list of best novels of 2003. It is a book that will grab you since the very first page and you are not likely to forget it.

It is a story of family, emotional bonds, denial, and redemption. The Gulliver family has been living a story for over thirty years about how their past has affected their future. They are concerned mostly on what would people say instead of who can we turn to help us. Their lives are not their own and they are headed for self-destruction.

At the center of the story is Anne Gulliver. Since she was sixteen she has run away from home, disappearing for months at a time traveling the world. She has been doing that for over twenty years and the family does not know what to do. The last straw involved an incident when she was in Sicily. Something happened and everyone including Anne is in denial. They would rather live a different reality than the one they are living now.

Hunter tells the story through the eyes of Andrew Gulliver, Anne's twin brother. He loves his sister and would do anything for her. The story flips back and forth as Andrew tells the story and the events that led Anne to be a wanderer. His insights are valuable because we see how emotional he is about the situation as well as the helplessness he feels due to the actions of others in his family. They may not be like the Tyrones in Eugene O'Neill's LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, but they come close. Unless they get to the root of the problem, nothing is going to save them. The reader is left wondering their fate until the story's powerful last chapter.

This book is as close to a recent masterpiece as you can get. This is no 87th precinct novel and it is not meant to be funny. It is a short novel with a lot to say that will stay imprinted on your mind forever. There is very little to say except that this book deserves the highest possible recommendation. Don't miss it.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, July 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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