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If You Were There Reviews

If You Were There by Francisco Garcia

If You Were There: Missing People and the Marks They Leave Behind

Francisco Garcia

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Mudlark
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 13 May 2021
ISBN: 9780008412159

'One of the non-fiction books of the year.' Andrew O' Hagan A powerful, evocative and deeply personal journey into the world of missing people

4 stars out of 5
15 May 2021

"A sensitive investigation challenges our understanding of what it means to be missing, and how it feels for those left behind"

There is a sensitivity to the way Garcia engages with his interviewees. Of an email exchange he has with a woman whose brother is missing, he gives only a brief summary, explaining: “There were many things that Chloe asked me to leave out”. During a conversation with a friend whose mother disappeared, he breaks from the narrative, turning his voice recorder off because he “sensed we’d talked about traumas of the past for quite long enough”. These absences only make the narrative stronger. They suggest it is possible to write nonfiction that is ethical, that does not expose or breach the trust of one’s subjects, but rather treats them with dignity and respect.