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The Lost Father Paperback – January 11, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 524 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 11, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679733035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679733034
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Simpson ( Anywhere but Here ) continues to chronicle the life of her first novel's protagonist, who here searches from Egypt to Wisconsin to California for her father.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This novel takes place five years after the events in Anywhere But Here ( LJ 3/15/89) and includes many of the same characters. Mayan, the daughter in the earlier novel, is now a medical student in her late twenties living a studious, if unexciting, life in New York City. Her existence is turned on end, however, as she becomes consumed with the search for her father, who abandoned the family when Mayan was a young child. The search becomes an obsession that brings her to the edge of destruction: She spends all her savings on the services of a sleazy detective who never gets her any closer to her goal and lets her studies, her friendships, and even her health lapse without seeming to realize it. A fascinating study of a person ruled by obsession, bringing to mind Vladimir Nabokov's Humbert Humbert, this novel offers a wrenching and provocative portrait of a truly dysfunctional family. Simpson's writing is straightforward and often beautifully poetic. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/91.
- Jessica Grim, Oberlin Coll. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mona Simpson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles as a young teenager. Her father was a recent immigrant from Syria and her mother was the daughter of a mink farmer and the first person in her family to attend college. Simpson went to Berkeley, where she studied poetry. She worked as a journalist before moving to New York to attend Columbia's MFA program. During graduate school, she published her first short stories in Ploughshares, The Iowa Review and Mademoiselle. She stayed in New York and worked as an editor at The Paris Review for five years while finishing her first novel. Anywhere But Here. After that, she wrote The Lost Father, A Regular Guy and Off Keck Road.

Her work has been awarded several prizes: a Whiting Prize, a Guggenheim, a grant from the NEA, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Prize, a Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, a Pen Faulkner finalist, and most recently a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She worked ten years on My Hollywood. "It's the book that took me too long because it meant too much to me," she says.

Mona lives in Santa Monica with her two children and Bartelby the dog.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are approaching this as a sequel to "Anywhere but Here," you will be sorely disappointed with "The Lost Father." Important details, the things that stick with the protagonist (her Wisconsin hometown, her stepfather's last name, and her father's name, to name a few), are changed, and it seems this can only be the result of carelessness on the behalf of Simpson and *especially* her editor. If you are wondering what happened to the bratty and real Ann August, you will be disoriented once placed into the world of the overachieving Mayan Stevenson, a woman whose childhood amazingly parallels that of Ann's but doesn't quite match.
However, if you truly enjoyed the academic side of Simpson's writing, the structure and voice and insight and whatnot, you will find she still deserves the three stars I've given this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mariane Matera VINE VOICE on February 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Spoiler alert: The Lost Father is found on page 451 and the trip getting there is the most tedious ever. We flashback frequently to main character Mayan's childhood or recent past. We travel all over, searching for the father and getting way too involved in all the people we meet along the way. And very little of it is actually necessary to get to the point of the story.

Mona Simpson writes and writes and writes. We have a scene where she's in a phone booth, and she describes to us various strangers who walk by. We are told what color irrelevant items in a room are. We are given descriptions of locations and people at length. Everybody in this book is crazy in a different way, and no surprise, after all this, the father is a disappointment, which we all knew going in. There were plenty of clues. And Mayan becomes the type of daughter you don't want to find you. She wants a $900 pearl necklace from him.

I try not to read much fiction because much of it is like this, too much useless information that the plot line doesn't need. Short stories become very, very long novels when a "writer" tells a story. Life is too short for this. But I read this because I knew that it is actually not fiction. The Lost Father is Steve Jobs' father and I wanted to see what it was about him that made Jobs' take no interest in meeting him. Well, that much you find out. But omg, what a tedious trip to get there.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
This author is amazing at verbalizing the feelings of a particularly under-evaluated age group. I found myself drawn to the highly-depressed character of 28-year-old Mayan, who knows she has "issues" but cannot get past them. The reader is caught in Mayan's whirlpool of unresolved feelings for both parents while she gives up her very self to do what scares her the most - finding her father. Her obsession with her past is heart-rending but familiar.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Mechlinski VINE VOICE on June 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Despite a back-cover claim that the protagonist of this novel is the same as in Simpson's first book "Anywhere but Here," I had trouble believing that.

For starters, the young medical student generally goes by Mayan. It takes quite some pages to reveal that some people also call her Ann -- the only name she was ever called int he first book.

Then, there is Mayan/Ann's childhood. In "ABH," she seemed to spend most of her time with her cousin Ben. In this book, Ben warrants a few passing mentions, but for the most part, Ann spends all her time with Emily and Mai linn -- characters never before mentioned. It's like Simpson has written one character with two different childhoods.

Still, a number of things remain consistent, such as Ann's dysfunctional mother Adele and her quietly strong grandmother Lillian. It's not enough, though; as Simpson's writing is strong, she might simply have decided to create an entirely different character rather than striving for a sequel that didn't quite gel.

As for the main plotline itself -- Mayan's search for the father who abandoned her as a child -- it's too drawn out. For reasons not clearly understood, Mayan has spent most of her life anticipating her father's reappearance; as a woman in her mid-twenties, however, she is nearly obsessed with a search for a man who is a virtual stranger. It takes a long time (and many, many pages) for Mayan to finally locate the man -- and when she does, Simpson does not really provide any reasons for the character's actions.

While this is hardly the worst book ever, I wouldn't really recommend it. Your time can be better spend elsewhere.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed both "Anywhere but Here" and "A Regular Guy," so I looked forward to reading "The Lost Father," which is the sequel to "Anywhere but Here." However, I found it boring and irritating. I absolutely could not identify with Mayan and couldn't understand why she was so obsessed. Really silly. Don't waste your time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. Feldman on December 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Loved A Regular Guy and Anywhere But Here. This one is a complete snoozer. Couldn't get past page 90. I skipped ahead several times looking for some glimmer of hope that the story might get better, but it droned on and on and on an and on....
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