When her teenage daughter returns after having gone missing, Jen is relieved but uneasy. Lana is cagey about where she was for the last four days, evading any questions about her whereabouts or if she was held against her will. Once home, she quickly retreats back into the depression and anger that have consumed her in the past, unable to shake her fear or settle back into her life. Like Demeter searching for Persephone, Jen will do anything to save her daughter, even descend into hell herself. Whistle in the Dark is an engrossing testament to the power of maternal love, an unorthodox narrative parceled out in a series of vignettes — in this case, the whole is equal to the sum of its parts! Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Emma Healey follows the success of her #1 internationally bestselling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, with this beautiful, thought-provoking, and psychologically complex tale that affirms her status as one of the most inventive and original literary novelists today.
Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent's worst nightmare.
Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.
Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: "I can't remember."
For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope--the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana's steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.
A wry, poignant, and masterfully drawn story that explores the bonds and duress of family life, the pain of mental illness, and the fraught yet enduring connection between mothers and daughters, Whistle in the Dark is a story of guilt, fear, hope, and love that explores what it means to lose and find ourselves and those we love.