The Missing List – a memoir


From the back cover:

Clare Best has been haunted all her life by dark family secrets. When she agrees to help her dying father record his memoir, she embarks on an urgent quest for the truth. Which version of their life will he tell? And how will she reclaim her own story from his?

With lyricism, forensic precision and flashes of humour, Clare Best weaves together her father’s words, his ciné-film footage, her journal entries and scraps of childhood memory. This story of courage and resilience is unforgettable.

A tapestry of time – brightly coloured, beautifully orchestrated, emotionally pureAndrew O’Hagan

Memoir at its finest. Such raw beauty in the writing, and generosity in sharing how important it is to take back our own truth, even when it hurts. I held my breath through entire sections – this book is brave, moving and above all compassionate Sarah Salway

Finalist in the Mslexia Memoir Competition, 2015.

Order The Missing List (published September 2018) here: Linen Press. Paperback £9.99. E-book £4.99.

Read Neil Gower in The Bookseller about how he responded to The Missing List to make the cover art.

Read Clare’s interview with Catherine Smith – about writing The Missing List.

Read what Clare says about how it feels to publish this memoir on Ali Bacon’s blog.

What readers are saying about The Missing List:

‘Best outlines a narrative not just of horror but of survival. She emerges angry, sane, but at peace. She demonstrates that abuse can come from any quarter, that its effects are terrible and longlasting, that few withstand its ravages without great damage to themselves. But most of all she shows that secrets unspoken must yield to their saying. A brilliant, courageous, moving book.’ John O’Donoghue, Viva Lewes

‘Arthur Miller, with his autobiography, Timebends: A Life, committed his life memories to the page without making chronological order of them – his explanation was that that was how our minds work. Clare Best does this too. And this is what gives the reader of her memoir a complicity in her quest.’ Alison Coles, Book Oxygen (read the full review)

‘The author’s achievement lies in involving the reader in her story to such an extent that she lifts her memoir into the wider realm of implicit questioning of how societies operate and how humans relationships develop.’ Matthew Stewart, Rogue Strands (read the full review)

‘This book took me on the most intense and emotional journey I have ever been through in a work of non-fiction. It is beautifully written… I reread numerous passages simply because they were so perfectly put together. The book is impossible to put down. But most of all it is the courage and compassion shown in writing so cleanly and honestly about a subject as taboo as child abuse that makes this book exceptional… uplifting and life affirming. An outstanding achievement, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.’ Toby Marchant, Goodreads.

‘Clare describes the book as “an act of compassion for my young self”. She relies on her journal, her reflections, transcribed recordings of her father’s account of his life, and his Bolex ciné-films. The result is a montage of vignettes… What beguiled me immediately was the forensic beauty of the writing. The whole thing is composed with the ear of a poet and the eye of a detective but, crucially, never the voice of a victim. The power of this book lies in its quiet determination to make sense of the unspeakable; the key to its cover lay in painting the unseeable.’ Neil Gower in The Bookseller

The Missing List by Clare Best