Lost & Found Synopsis:
At seven years old, Millie Bird realises that everything is dying around her. She wasn’t to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things her dad would be a Dead Thing, too.
Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and has not left her house since her husband died. She sits behind her front window, hidden by the curtains and ivy, and shouts at passers-by, roaring her anger at complete strangers. Until the day Agatha spies a young girl across the street.
Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven when his son kisses him on the cheek before leaving him at the nursing home. As he watches his son leave, Karl has a moment of clarity. He escapes the home and takes off in search of something different.
Three lost people needing to be found. But they don’t know it yet. Millie, Agatha and Karl are about to break the rules and discover what living is all about. (Hatchette Australia)
There has been much pre-release hype about Brooke Davis’ debut novel Lost & Found and I am pleased to say it is well-deserved.
In Lost & Found Davis has fearlessly unleashed a quirky band of characters on Australian suburbia. She allows the reader to see the world as each of her characters do, through their unique narrative voice as they process what they see before them and reflect upon their lives and the people they have shared them with. Their observations exude a compelling rawness and honesty – a potent mix of the extremes of childlike wonder and world-weary experience.
What particularly stood out for me was the way Davis has tapped into that emotional state we rarely admit to. You know that one when we feel an uncontrollable urge to laugh at something utterly heartwrenching like a mishap with a coffin at a funeral – that emotion that reminds us we are very much alive.
But there is so much more to this novel than its quirky and at times dark humour. Not everything these characters do is admirable but the intensity of their emotions and earnestness with which they respond to life’s challenges is heartwarming. I certainly developed a soft spot for the very loud and obnoxious Agatha Pantha.
The sky is between day and night, that deep blue it gets when it’s shedding on for the other. Agatha storms towards Karl and Millie. She’s difficult to make out in the deepening dark, but there’s something about the way she walks that means he will never mistake her for anyone else. As though she is fighting with the air; as though the air is as thick as a sheet, and she has to tear her way through it.
If this novel has a weakness it is that some of the characters’ actions seem a little arbitrary at times – they are a vehicle for character development rather than story progression.
Lost & Found has introduced to the literary world a unique authorial voice in Brooke Davis. She clearly sees deeper meaning and wonder in the everyday and mundane than most of us take the time to. I will never think of a hyphen in the same way ever again.
I wholeheartedly recommend experiencing Lost & Found for yourself, and I eagerly await what comes next from Brooke Davis.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
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Genre: Literature, Drama, Humour
Author Information: Brooke Davis grew up in Bellbrae, Victoria, and attempted to write her first novel when she was ten years old. It was genre-busting foray into the inner-workings of a young teenage girl’s mind-Anne of Green Gables meets The Baby-Sitters Club meets Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret titled Summer Sadness. Fortunately it remains unfinished, as she quickly realised she didn’t know the first thing about sadness, or being a teenager. Lost & Found is her first proper novel, and she was lucky to write it as part of a PhD at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. She still lives there (in Perth, not at university), and is sometimes allowed to work at a very nice bookshop nearby. Much to Brooke’s surprise, Lost & Found proved to be the buzz book of the 2014 London Book Fair. The translation rights have since been sold into sixteen countries and major deals have been confirmed in the United States and Great Britain.
* My receiving a paperbook copy of this title from Hatchette Australia for review purposes in no way hindered the expression of my honest opinions in the above.