I enjoyed this book, it really got 'under my skin'. Emma Healey paints a very convincing picture of a woman sliding progressively into dementia and I felt as if I was sliding with her!
Maud is 82 and managing to live in her own home, with the help of visits from her daughter, Helen and a carer who comes in every morning. In between those times she struggles to organise her life using reminders written on a multitude of pieces of paper. She goes to the corner shop and can't remember what she went for, returning with yet more tins of peaches. She leaves cups of tea around the house un-drunk. She eats endless pieces of toast.
But what bothers her most is that her close friend Elizabeth is not in her house and seems to have totally disappeared. She is sure Elizabeth's surly son has something to do with his mother's disappearance. In spite of all Maud's problems, she manages to visit Elizabeth's house for frequent checks and has the wherewithal to report her disappearance to the police.
Then there is the other mystery that plays in the back of her mind, the disappearance of her beautiful sister back in the 1940s. Small clues nag at her memory, but she can't seem to piece them together.
While the question of Elizabeth's disappearance highlights Maud's immediate problems, the mystery from the past provides some light relief to the narrative and gives us some insight into the younger Maud.
I thought this was a very cleverly executed book. It even began to get me to question my own sanity! My only complaint was the endless pieces of paper; I wanted to buy Maud a notebook to keep everything in chronological order so she'd know that she'd already attended her doctor's appointment or bought enough tins of peaches.
We are given a fascinating insight into what must be going on in the mind of a person with progressive dementia and I came away with considerably improved understanding of their suffering.