cover image Nobody Is Ever Missing

Nobody Is Ever Missing

Catherine Lacey. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $14 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-37

Lacey’s debut novel has emotional power, depth, and subtle humor. The protagonist, Elyria, makes the impulsive decision to leave her luxurious New York City apartment, her husband, her job as a scriptwriter for soap operas, and, most importantly, the charade of happiness she has kept up since her sister’s suicide. Elyria decides to take a trip to New Zealand, after going to a party and meeting Werner, a successful novelist who said she could stay at his cottage there. She arrives and hitchhikes to Werner’s home, along the way meeting Jaye, a transgendered female flight attendant, and Judas, who resembles a character from “a porno or slasher movie,” among others. At Werner’s cottage, Elyria is content to lead a largely isolated existence, repaying her host’s generosity by tending his garden, but eventually Werner tires of her and she has to move on. Lacey rejects the typical dramatic trajectory of a self-discovery story. Instead, she keenly constructs a believable universe composed not of disasters or miracles, but of choices and consequences. Agent: Jin Auh, Wylie Agency. (July)