Elizabeth wird vermisst - Emma Healey

The story is told by Maud, a woman who is suffering from Alzheimer's. It is a bit of a mystery novel, because Maud is looking for her friend Elizabeth, who might or might not be missing. However, the main subject is that through the first-person narrator, one gets a feeling for what happens in an affected brain, how it switches involuntarily between past and present and how that makes it impossible for somebody who is suffering from dementia to realize what is really going on around them, what is real and what is not.

The book is intense, humorous, heart-rending and exhausting, just like life with a demented person is.

 

Neverheless, I have two points of criticism, which both have to do with the German audiobook edition that I have read, and which are responsible for the rating of four stars instead of five:

 

Firstly, the narrator (Katharina Thalbach) has a voice that is a bit rough, sometimes a bit shaky, which is very fitting for the parts that are told by the old Maud. But the story alternates between those parts and parts that deal with the life of the younger Maud, and both are told by the same narrator. Therefore it is sometimes really difficult to distinguish between past and present, since there are no pauses that would indicate a new chapter or paragraph in the audiobook.

As this adds to the experience of how life with an affected brain would be like, I don't want to complain too much, just want to note that it was rather confusing.

 

The second point is something that was driving me absolutely nuts: Maud's sister is nicknamed Sookey. The narrator has obviously never heard this name before, because she pronounces it like sucky. Everytime the name was mentioned (and it gets mentioned a lot), everytime I heard Elizabeth call her sister "sucky", it made me cringe and writhe and want to yell at the narrator to please, PLEASE pronounce it correcly!

If, as a German reader, one does not know what the English word sucky means, everything is fine, I guess. But if you do know what it means - well, it sucks.