Genre: Fiction
Published: 1 June 2007
Publisher: Jonathan Cape

In Search of the Missing Eyelash

Lizzie is lonely. Her father is gone, her mother has disappeared and her little brother, Simon, went missing a month ago and has been spotted in the local swimming baths wearing a woman’s one-piece bathing suit with padding in ‘two certain areas’. It was ok when she had Sally as her girlfriend, but Sally has gone off with a fat-necked man with googly eyes and shows no signs of missing her ex-lover, or wanting her back. If only she could stop stalking her… At least nothing has changed at Ruby’s cafe, where she works as a waitress, serving shepherd’s pie and cups of sugary tea to the dotty old regulars.

IN SEARCH OF THE MISSING EYELASH is a novel about family and love and loss, about what happens to your head when everything shifts, about the dreadful aching fear of being alone and the lengths people go to prevent it. It’s a novel about sex and gender; of secrets and disguises; of heartbreak and sadness and loneliness; of perception and truth and lies. It’s an astonishing read, hilarious and heartbreaking in a breath. And it establishes Karen McLeod as one of the most exciting and ambitious new voices around.

"I loved it. A brilliant mix of the poetic and the comic, a quirky novel that also explores how we can become undone through love." - Jackie Kay, Guardian, 'Books of the Year'
"Tremendous. Such a mix of hilarious and poetic and delicate and tough, it feels like a twenty-first century version of Nell Dunn, a kind of writing that lets you see the state of things. Its kindness is I think one of the most buoyant things about it – it pulls love and gentleness out of nowhere – and makes other shapes of things, different shapes for things, unexpected shapes of things, stimulating and important and generous, which is pretty cunning, and very satisfying. Wonderful." - Ali Smith
"A marvellous debut: quirky, honest, funny and sad. I loved it." - Sarah Waters
"It's a sparkling novel – short and deftly written, so good on the minor details that make up our lives. It's a deeply serious book about longing and loneliness and identity, but also so sweetly funny throughout and everything about it rings beautiful and true." - Peter Hobbs, author of THE SHORT DAY DYING
"An unusually striking first novel. Karen McLeod is the new literary sensation." - Rachel Cooke, Observer
"Unexpectedly life-affirming… will speak to big-hearted romantics of whatever persuasion." - Patrick Gale, Independent
"Both comic and moving as it explores ideas of self, of gender, identification and loneliness." - Observer
"Sensitive, ferocious and very funny." - Helen Oyeyemi, New Statesman
"Loneliness, love and loss seep from this bittersweet debut novel." - Financial Times
"McLeod’s writing has a generosity of spirit that celebrates difference and turns the story of one person’s small sorrows into a wonderfully moving tale of loss, loneliness and love." - Metro, 'Book of the Week'
"A dazzling debut." - The Scotsman