“What Was Lost” in People

Although People gives primary placement to Stephen Carter’s Palace Council in this issue (July 14; on newsstands now), they give it just three stars. The book that receives a complete set of stars (four) is the American trade paperback edition of a UK original, What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn. People calls it a “ghost story and satire of consumer culture… at once moving and wickedly funny, it’s one dazzling debut.”

Originally pubbed in the UK, it was the winner of the British Costa Award for best first novel. The Library Journal review said; This seamlessly written, character-driven novel offers up well-appreciated humor along with its darker material, and readers who enjoy sideswiping surprises will not be disappointed.”

It received starred reviews in PW and School Library Journal; some libraries have it on order for YA only.

In consumer reviews, it was reviewed in the LA Times earlier this month, by Jane Smiley;

This is a novel that should have no jacket copy, no advance notices. It should come into your hands unheralded, because if you simply open to the first page and begin reading, you’ll proceed in a state of innocent pleasure.

The 6/29 Dallas Morning News called the author the “British book trade’s ‘Newcomer of the Year'” and describes the book’s appeal;

Just when you think you are settling into a quirky English mystery in the tradition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Ms. O’Flynn reveals she has bigger and broader ambitions. Just when you think the mood is becoming a little too somber, she unleashes a comic riff that nicely skewers consumer culture without getting preachy. Just when you think you have the crime solved, she raises new possibilities.

The book ranks at #1,343 in sales on Amazon, which is high for the trade paperback of a book originally published in the UK. Libraries I checked also show a surprising number of holds.

  • Paperback: $14.00
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; June 24, 2008
  • ISBN-10: 0805088334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805088335
  • Unabridged Audio: $79.95
  • Publisher: BBC Audio
  • Narrator: Catherine Skinner
  • CD: 9780792754954

Comments are closed.