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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Entertainment  |  The Book of Lost Things « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Book of Lost Things  (Read 3952 times)
Killer Bees
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Never give up on love


« on: January 09, 2008, 10:00:26 PM »

I picked up this novel by John Connolly because it was severely discounted and the blurb on the back sounded interesting.

This is an awesome book.  It made me cry in two different parts.  Being a voracious reader throughout my life I've consumed a lot books, but none of them has ever made me cry once, let alone twice.

Set at the beginning of WW2, 12 year old David has lost his mother to illness and his father decides to remarry the director of the hospice where his mother stayed towards the end of her life.  His new wife is pregnant and David soon is confronted with Georgie, a half brother and step mother he can't stand, despite her repeated efforts to befriend the grieving boy.

Still mourning his mother after 6 months, he can't deal with a move to the country to the mansion owned by his new step mother, his father remarrying and his new half brother taking up all his parents' time.  His father also takes a job with the govt war effort codebreaking and isn't home much of the time.  Coupled with the fact that in his grief, he has blackouts, poor David really having a rough time dealing with things.

So David retreats to the books his mother and he loved so much.  In particular, the fairy tales.

One night, David discovers a low stone wall in the mansion's vast gardens and goes to investigate.  He wriggles through a gap in the wall to escape a damaged German bomber plane crashing towards him and finds himself in a magical world in peril.

The king is losing control of his kingdom and the woods are populated by all manner of odd creatures - dwarves who dig for gold, vicious wolves and even more vicious half wolf/half man creatures called loups, trolls and harpies, deer with childrens heads in place of their own,  to name a few.  Everyone he meets tells him a story of some kind but they are twisted reality tales that come from the fairy tales we heard as children - Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, etc.  The new retellings aren't the kind of stories you would normally tell to children.

David must find his way to the king's castle where a book called "The Book of Lost Tthings" will hold the key, David believes, to him returning home.  The chapter where he meets the dwarves is hilarious and a welcome respite from the darkness and danger all around him.

It's a wonderful tale of a grieving boy maturing and finding his inner strength to deal with not only numerous creatures trying to kill and eat him, but also finding his place in the world and seeing situations as they really are and not as he perceives them to be. 

It's not a happily ever after tale, although there are some elements of that in the story.  It's a realistic portrayal of a boy stepping up and realising he must become the man he's meant to be and deal with the fact that life is full of heartache and sadness but also joy and love and hope. 

Just writing this review brings tears to my eyes.  I have never been touched like this by a story before and I'm hard pressed to explain why this particular one makes me feel this way.  But I take my hat off to Mr Connolly for it shows his talent with words that he can illicit such an unexpected emotional response from me.

I had never heard of John Connolly before this, but will now track down everything he's ever written and immerse myself in his wonderful story telling talent.

Read this book.  You will love it, whatever your usual literary tastes.
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Flower, gleam and glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse
Bring back what once was mine
Heal what has been hurt
Change the fates' design
Save what has been lost
Bring back what once was mine
What once was mine.......
indianasmith
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 10:01:53 PM »

Sounds excellent.
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Zapranoth
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 01:14:37 PM »

Can you compare the prose to anyone else's?

For example, your description of the prose reminds me of the heart-piercing brightness of the prose in _Winter's Tale_  if you've read that. 
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Allhallowsday
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Either he's dead or my watch has stopped!


« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2008, 04:40:38 PM »

Your synopsis reminds me of PAN'S LABYRINTH (my DVD of which, unbelievably, still sits there unopened, so I've yet to watch it!  Bluesad)  
JOHN CONNOLLY's books are available thru Amazon (which I am ashamed to admit I buy from routinely, enemy of the people).   Buggedout  
This link goes to the "Book of Lost Things" page including Blog from the author.  The book's in my cart.  Thanks, Killer Bees!  

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Lost-Things-Novel/dp/074329890X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200163239&sr=1-1

« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 09:06:24 PM by Allhallowsday » Logged

If you want to view paradise . . . simply look around and view it!
Killer Bees
Newly Appointed Government Employee and
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 177
Posts: 1287


Never give up on love


« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2008, 11:55:32 PM »

Your synopsis reminds me of PAN'S LABYRINTH (my DVD of which, unbelievably, still sits there unopened, so I've yet to watch it!  Bluesad)  
JOHN CONNOLLY's books are available thru Amazon (which I am ashamed to admit I buy from routinely, enemy of the people).   Buggedout  
This link goes to the "Book of Lost Things" page including Blog from the author.  The book's in my cart.  Thanks, Killer Bees!  

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Lost-Things-Novel/dp/074329890X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200163239&sr=1-1




You're welcome AllHallows!

I can't really describe his prose in relation to anything else.  I've not read anything like this subject, nor have I read anything that even sounds like his style.  He writes so simply, yet beautifully and every page tugs at the heartstrings, yet without going into endless metaphors and useless floral prose.

It is a descriptive economy of words such as I've never read.  I could believe that he watched the whole story unfold before his own eyes.  I could picture every scene in my head as vividly as if it were happening to me.  In the emotional scenes, he tells it like it is without harshness but not sparing the reader any of the depth of feelings that David is experiencing.  And there's no navel gazing or going off on tangents or endless self reflection.  He just gets on with it, easily and without fanfare, but at a pace that sweeps you up with it.

I really don't know what it is about this book that just "got" me.  I guess if you read for long enough you're bound to come across something that touches you deeply and profoundly.  This book did it with me.  My mother is alive and well so I can't even say I empathise with the loss of a parent as happened to the David character.

I think it was just a serendipitous confluence of events:  the book's brilliant style, the subject matter that touched me, my mood at the time of reading, the wonderful discovery of a great book at a great price.  Who really knows?

Damn, there I go again, tears welling up in my eyes!  And in the middle of a work day too!  If I ever met John Connolly in real life, I don't know whether I would kiss him or kick him  *lol*

Actually, I'd probably kiss him, he's pretty cute!   TeddyR
Logged

Flower, gleam and glow
Let your power shine
Make the clock reverse
Bring back what once was mine
Heal what has been hurt
Change the fates' design
Save what has been lost
Bring back what once was mine
What once was mine.......
316zombie
Guest
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2008, 04:52:17 PM »

read any of charles de lint's stories about newford...i think you'd like them...also the young wizards series,and maybe the dark materials series?....
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