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Loved and Missed

Loved and Missed

by Susie Boyt

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Ruth is a woman who believes in and despairs of the curative power of love. Her daughter Eleanor is a drug addict who has just had a baby, Lily. Ruth adjusts herself in large ways and small to give to Eleanor what she thinks she may need: nourishment, distance, affection. But all her gifts fall short: what Eleanor wants is only what will mutilate. When Ruth finds a body, the victim of an overdose, in Eleanor’s apartment, she gives her a large envelope of cash in exchange for Lily and takes the baby home. She wonders how her friends see her: “Tall, chestnut-haired, despairing? Would they claim in order to be brave I’ve had to coarsen myself?”

No matter, Lily is a life force, and as she grows, her benevolent presence begins to soften the sharp-edged defeats and disappointments that have menaced Ruth for so long. For a person left by people all her life, love without fear is an almost unrecognizable feeling, and will it last? Loved 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 US, is a triumph.

Additional Book Information

Series: New York Review Books
ISBN: 9781681377810
Pages: 224
Publication Date:


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.
—Mia Levitin, Financial Times

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.
—Martin Chilton, Independent

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

Boyt's novel is compelling—and invites our compassion for those who may not always earn it, but still deserve it.
—Marianka Swain, Daily Telegraph

Always surprising—unexpected, particular, the thing you didn't know you wanted, but needed more than anything. A tender study of unrequited maternal love redeemed ultimately by the quiet glory of not giving up.
—Tamsin Greig

Boyt's writing is perceptive and emotionally powerful.

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.
—Rev Richard Coles, Daily Mail

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