Reviewer: Emma Rowson

Publisher: Faber & Faber Ltd    14th September 2021

 978-1250083722     HB

The Missing Hours is an intensely readable novel dealing with some very relevant themes. I found myself intrigued by the direction of the plot, which focuses on the aftermath of a sexual assault on rich, privileged Claudia Castro. The novel diverts to a place of strength, with the perceived victim battling to retake control of her life, leaving me hooked.

The story is told from three points of view: Claudia, her sister Edie and fellow student Trevor. Events are relayed through a wide scope; Claudia’s battle for justice on her own terms, Edie’s determination to find her sister and Trevor, the most interesting character to dissect owing to his unique placement in the story, giving cause for hope.

I began this novel with expectations of a difficult read in terms of content. However, I didn’t feel upset. I felt angry. I read and recognised much of the hypocrisy. The way in which women are viewed and treated and how men and their lives can all too often be held in higher regard. Claudia’s ordeal being swept aside, her being victim blamed. This is something that we see happening every day.

These themes of power, privilege, and the disparity when translated to gender are at the very heart of the plot. The events of the novel and the blurring lines between right and wrong make this a great read for book clubs. There is much to provoke thought and inspire discussion when thinking about how these events could play out in wider society. How much of the novel and the effect on the reader would be altered were the victim someone else entirely? Someone altogether less privileged?  It raises important issues on the separations that exist in society and how these are reinforced. leaving lingering questions for the reader to confront.