The Day That Went Missing
Winner of the PEN/Ackerley Prize 2018
On a family summer holiday in Cornwall in 1978, Richard and his younger brother Nicholas are jumping in the waves. Suddenly, Nicholas is out of his depth. One moment he's there, the next he's gone.
Richard and his other brothers don't attend the funeral, and incredibly the family returns immediately to the same cottage - to complete the holiday, to carry on, in the best British tradition. They soon stop speaking of the catastrophe. Their epic act of collective denial writes Nicky out of the family memory.
Nearly forty years later, Richard, an acclaimed novelist, is haunted by the missing piece of his childhood, the unexpressed and unacknowledged grief at his core. He doesn't even know the date of his brother's death or the name of the beach where the tragedy occurred.
So he sets out on a pain-staking investigation to rebuild Nicky's life, and ultimately to recreate the precise events on the day of the accident.
The Day That Went Missing is a transcendent story of guilt and forgiveness, of reckoning with unspeakable loss. But, above all, it is a brother's most tender act of remembrance, and a man's brave act of survival.
- 2017 Richard Beard
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