Reviews of Loved and Missed by Susie Boyt

Loved and Missed

by Susie Boyt

Loved and Missed by Susie Boyt X
Loved and Missed by Susie Boyt
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  • Paperback:
    Sep 2023, 208 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Book Summary

Love and Missed is a whip-smart, incisive, and mordantly witty novel about love's gains and missteps. British writer Susie Boyt's seventh novel, and the first to be published in the United States, is a triumph.

Ruth is a woman who believes in and despairs of the curative power of love. Her daughter, Eleanor, who is addicted to drugs, has just had a baby, Lily. Ruth adjusts herself in ways large and small to give to Eleanor what she thinks she may need—nourishment, distance, affection—but all her gifts fall short. After someone dies of an overdoes in Eleanor's apartment, Ruth hands her daughter an envelope of cash and takes Lily home with her, and Lily, as she grows, proves a compensation for all of Ruth's past defeats and disappointment. Love without fear is a new feeling for her, almost unrecognizable. Will it last?

T W O

On the morning of the christening I took the Sickert in a Sainsbury's carrier to a man off Bond Street. We stood facing each other while I muttered something formal and incoherent. We were in a darkish Italian café, three quarters empty. Twelve shiny lozenge-shaped rosewood-effect tables, not much wider than ironing boards and Elvis droning on and on about missed opportunities.

I was nervous; I felt shipwrecked almost, ship-racked. He took the brown paper from the painting, narrowed his mouth, dipped his shoulders. He was organising himself for disappointment, I could see. I stored it up, his little insincere routine, thought it might come in useful later. the man was wiry and weak-chested with a stale Dickensian pallor. Nicotine stains on all ten of his fingers. Wild of hair.

I sat roughly, bashing my elbow on the side of the chair and they brought us small coffees, one black, one white. there was grease on the saucers, the smell of burnt toast, and a large waitress in ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

It's impressive just how much is achieved in around 200 pages here, including a surprise point-of-view change. Boyt is attentive to family legacies — "Our fatherlessness an hereditary disease," Ruth opines for all three generations — and to the pain of having one's love not requited or appreciated. "Hard to know how to give to people who only wanted what would mutilate," Ruth thinks about Eleanor. Boyt's prose is stunning as she traces the history of this complicated, makeshift family...continued

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(Reviewed by Rebecca Foster).

Media Reviews

Daily Mail (UK)
I adored Susie Boyt's novel Loved And Missed, which explores what can happen when, out of the blue, addiction and dereliction arrive to wreck a family. And how goodwill, determination and encouragement can ultimately put things back together again.

Financial Times (UK)
Loved and Missed deftly sidesteps the clichés that often plague stories involving drug abuse, and it conveys the complexities of loving someone who can't love you back with remarkable delicacy.

The Independent (UK)
This beautiful tale of love, courage and compassion ... captures the pain of estrangement in penetrating, haunting language.... Loved and Missed is a complex, deeply moving novel about frailty and suffering. Despite all the sadness, hope remains.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Readers who are averse to crying in public be warned: You'll want to sit with this astounding story at home.

Library Journal
The novel conveys the full spectrum of Ruth trying to mother Eleanor in her troubled state from afar….This tale of sorrow and devotion with a layer of hope is for fans of real-world family fiction focusing on intense situations.

Publishers Weekly
British writer Boyt delivers a story of filial estrangement in her mordant and touching U.S. debut…Boyt's assured effort brims with intelligence and feeling.

Irish Independent
Boyt is both funny ... and poignant ... but never less than impeccably truthful, with a broad, oft breathtaking wisdom.

Author Blurb Claire Messud
What a beautiful, illuminating and deeply humane novel Susie Boyt has given us—her prose glorious, her characters alive upon the page, their voices and gestures utterly vivid. Loved and Missed, rich like life itself in sorrow, comedy and joy, is a triumph.

Author Blurb Rumaan Alam
Loved and Missed is a story of parental love and human failing that's more funny than it has any right to be, more heartbreaking than you think you can bear; it's the sort of book you can't wait to recommend to everyone you know, the sort of book we are lucky to have.

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Beyond the Book

New York Review Books

Covers of the NYRB Classics mentioned in this article Susie Boyt's Loved and Missed was first published in the United Kingdom in 2021; two years later, it has been published in the United States by New York Review Books, which specializes in both contemporary literature and obscure classics and embodies what it calls an "eclectic, adventurous spirit."

Since 1999, New York Review Books has existed as the publishing division of the literary periodical The New York Review of Books, which releases 20 issues annually. Founded by editors Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein in 1963, the independent publication has been dubbed by Esquire "the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language."

The oldest New York Review Books imprint is NYRB Classics, which launched with a ...

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