Looking for books where a person or people are searching for a long lost person.
December 18, 2009 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Looking for books where a person or people are searching for a long lost person.

I loved Hunting Eichmann and would like to read more books about a person or a group of people banding together to find a long lost person.

I'd prefer nonfiction, but well written fiction will work too.

posted by reenum to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (fiction) is about a guy searching for his brother, and is on a bunch of Top 10 lists for the year. I enjoyed it.

The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn also came to mind.
posted by something something at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated is a fictionalized account of his own search for his ancestors' lost village in the Ukraine.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:54 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin may be a fictional children's book that appears to be out of print (or at least not sold new by amazon)... but it's also fantastic, and only will take you like 3 hours to read :).
posted by brainmouse at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by escabeche at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2009

Oops, posted instead of linking. 2666 by Roberto Bolan~o is a great example of this. And it's tragic that The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel), possibly the greatest YA novel ever written, is out of print.
posted by escabeche at 9:37 AM on December 18, 2009

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (fiction)
posted by bluestocking at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2009

It's a film, but: In The Mouth of Madness.
posted by mkultra at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2009

The Artist of the Missing.. Fiction, of course.

The Lost City of Z. Nonfiction. Apparently to be made into a movie starring Brad Pitt. Go figger.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2009

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in the sense that Pirsig is searching for (and also afraid of) the person he was before he'd gone through shock treatments and basically had his personality wiped out.
posted by jon1270 at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2009

Not a book (though I suppose you could read a transcript): This American Life episode: The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:21 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

when we were orphans, kazuo ishiguro
a boy whose parents disappear in his childhood grows up to be a detective, and tries to track them down as an adult.

warning: this book broke my heart. so much.
posted by raw sugar at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2009

My Search for B.Traven by Jonah Raskin. I did an FPP about the mysterious author of Treasure of the Sierra Madre and it's quite a tale.
posted by Abiezer at 10:28 AM on December 18, 2009

Um. 'Heart of Darkness' may be related.
posted by Darth Fedor at 10:40 AM on December 18, 2009

The Pages in Between starts out about looking for a long-lost person, and then examines the unexpected things that happen when that person is actually found. (It was also featured on This American Life a year or two ago, I believe.) Fascinating story, though unfortunately the author's whining really tone really worked my last nerve through portions of it.
posted by scody at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2009

Anne Tyler, Searching for Caleb (1975); here's a link to the NY Times review (free subscription required): http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/04/19/specials/tyler-caleb.html?_r=2
posted by davemack at 10:56 AM on December 18, 2009

The Searchers by Alan Le May, the basis for the John Ford film of the same name.

Also The Unredeemed Captive by John Demos is a non-fiction Indian captivity narrative, not sure how long the child was a captive before her family located her.
posted by marxchivist at 11:33 AM on December 18, 2009

In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster. Very much a work of fiction. A long-lost brother search in a post-apocolyptic/major economic crisis setting.
posted by dayintoday at 11:48 AM on December 18, 2009

Jane Rogers, The Voyage Home (warning: massively non-upbeat)

Joseph O'Connor, Redemption Falls (also massively non-upbeat)

This is one of the many subplots in Charles Dickens' Bleak House.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2009

Probably not really what you're looking for, but V. by Thomas Pynchon.
posted by fantastico at 12:49 PM on December 18, 2009

T Cooper's Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes may or may not be a welcomed spin on your theme.
posted by springbound at 5:47 PM on December 18, 2009

Annie's Ghosts: a Journey into a Family Secret is an awesome non-fiction account of a Washington Post reporter's attempt to find out the details about his totally mysterious, unknown aunt, who his mother never told him about because she was committed to an asylum (this is not a spoiler; the info's on the jacket flap). It's really well written, and there's this awesome ever-widening trail of information as slowly he reveals to the reader what he learns about his aunt.
posted by librarylis at 10:16 PM on December 18, 2009

I'll cast a vote for When We Were Orphans by Ishiguro. If you haven't read him before this would be a great way to start.
posted by fso at 11:15 AM on January 7, 2010

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