erika770, August 9, 2012 (view all comments by erika770)
O'Flynn uses a variety of voices -- among a ten year old girl, a disillusioned security guard, a muddled music store manager, a nameless male shopper on the verge of a rage attack -- to great effect. The novel's plot hinges on the mystery of what happened to the young girl twenty years ago, and much of its commentary is on the directionless, empty lives epitomized by the modern shopping mall, but ultimately the story is about the hunger people have to connect, and the many ways that we, with mercy, accomplish those connections.
Kaitlin, October 29, 2008 (view all comments by Kaitlin)
This book was gripping from beginning to end. I love the writer's vioce, and the last twenty pages picked you up and were possible the most haunting ending I ever read. I absolutely loved this book.
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Henry Holt & Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Stirring and beautifully crafted, this debut novel recounts how the repercussions of a girl's disappearance can last for decades. In 1984, Kate Meaney is a 10-year-old loner who solves imaginary mysteries and guesses the dark secrets of the shoppers she observes at the Green Oaks mall. Kate's unlikely circle includes her always-present stuffed monkey; 22-year-old Adrian, who works at the candy shop next door; and Kate's classmate, Teresa Stanton, who hides her intelligence behind disruptive behavior. Kate's grandmother has plans for Kate: send her to boarding school. But Kate doesn't want to go. Fast forward to 2003, where it's revealed through Lisa, Adrian's sister, that Kate disappeared nearly 20 years ago, and Adrian, blamed in her disappearance, also vanished. Lisa works at a record store in Green Oaks and is drawn to Kurt, a security guard whose surveillance-camera sightings of a little girl clutching a stuffed monkey hint that he might have ties to Kate's disappearance. Teresa, meanwhile, now a detective, has her own reasons for being haunted by Kate's disappearance. Gripping to the end, the book is both a chilling mystery and a poignant examination of the effects of loss and loneliness. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A tender and sharply observant debut novel about a missing young girl—winner of the Costa First Novel Award and long-listed for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and The Guardian First Book Award
In the 1980s, Kate Meaney—“Top Secret” notebook and toy monkey in tow—is hard at work as a junior detective. Busy trailing “suspects” and carefully observing everything around her at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping mall, she forms an unlikely friendship with Adrian, the son of a local shopkeeper. But when this curious, independent-spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.
Then, in 2003, Adrians sister Lisa—stuck in a dead-end relationship—is working as a manager at Your Music, a discount record store. Every day she tears her hair out at the outrageous behavior of her customers and colleagues. But along with a security guard, Kurt, she becomes entranced by the little girl glimpsed on the malls surveillance cameras. As their after-hours friendship intensifies, Lisa and Kurt investigate how these sightings might be connected to the unsettling history of Green Oaks itself. Written with warmth and wit, What Was Lost is a haunting debut from an incredible new talent.
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