Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav
Missing Children by Lynn Crosbie
Add Missing Children to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

Missing Children

Best Seller
Missing Children by Lynn Crosbie
Paperback $17.99
Mar 25, 2003 | ISBN 9780771024252

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Mar 25, 2003 | ISBN 9780771024252

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Apr 29, 2014 | ISBN 9781551995151

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


“Crosbie’s poetry cannot be praised too highly for its stringently surreal beauty and consummate kiss-my-ass class.”
Toronto Star

“Lynn Crosbie is a poet for our times.…[She] uses language as if she invented it.”
Vancouver Sun

Author Essay

Missing Children started as a short poem, in response to a short news piece a friend sent me off the wire, about a man who was arrested for contacting the families of missing children and pretending he had information about them. He then ceased all contact. He was arrested, but the police weren’t sure what to charge him with. That’s all I knew about the case, and I was drawn to it because the story is so acute, yet so wanting, with regard to any conceivable motivation (other than simple malicious mischief). I have written a lot of poems about murderers, and one experimental novel (Paul’s Case), and liked to think of them – without hubris by association – as psychoanalytical/sociological interrogations (like Elliott Leyton’s work in Hunting Humans) or dramatic monologues in the style of Browning (particularly his work with the depraved). I was always curious, I am still curious about the realm beyond good and evil, where malfeasance, motive, and rough justice lies.

My work with the Missing Children narrator is secondary, ultimately, to my engagement with the notion of “missing children.” When I started writing the book, I was noticing detritus in the streets all the time, stray mittens and shoes, barrettes, school projects and so on, objects which seemed to form a jigsaw puzzle, a foundational narrative about fate, about simple or tragic carelessness, about the ways in which we may divine the world through a series of seemingly random clues. The poem/novel’s protagonist, similarly, reads his world through these prompts; similarly, exists, as writers do,  in “silence, exile, cunning.” The resemblance ends there.

This is the first creative work I have written in the voice of a man, and while I enjoyed trying to get the argot and stance right, he is not someone I wish to carry forward – he (who is never named) is the ghost of my own inquiries; the devil that “enquires (terribly) further.” I was so interested in Hemingway and other manly men while writing the book, in the idea of stripping language to its basest form, devoiding it of metaphor and any figurative strategies other than similes – at one point, he explains a fellow criminal’s sexual violence as functioning like an engine and a key.

The book was always an engaging process, artistically;  morally; I found it disquieting, the idea of letting someone be, regardless of my distaste. It is this sort of person, not a Billy the Kid or, again, a fact-freighted criminal, who interests me now: he is the little bug that scatters when the light rises; the mushroom growing in the crevices; the discarded object, whose utility  is entirely subjective, and lost.

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates from Lynn Crosbie
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top