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The Book of Lost Things Paperback – August 30, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Crossley provides a smooth, professional reading of this heartfelt story of loss and discovery. Connolly's fairy tale for adults chronicles the adventures of David, a 12-year-old boy growing up in WWII England. Still mourning the loss of his mother to cancer, David is desperately trying to adjust to life with a new stepmother, a new half-brother and a father who, because of the war, is never around. But everything changes when David stumbles through a magical gateway and into a realm of familiar, yet decidedly different, representations of classic fairy tales. Searching for a way home, he is pursued by the Crooked Man, an evil troll who must strip David of his innocence in order to retain his power over the kingdom. David learns lessons of bravery, loyalty, acceptance, sacrifice and, finally, the power of love and family. Crossley's narration is articulate and measured, bringing a respectful dignity to the author's prose. He takes the same care with the book's multitude of characters, whether it is David, the Crooked Man or a hilariously funny band of anti-capitalist dwarfs. A lovely tale, skillfully told.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
About the Author
John Connolly is the author of the Charlie Parker series of mystery novels, the supernatural collection Nocturnes, the Samuel Johnson Trilogy for younger readers, and (with Jennifer Ridyard) the Chronicles of the Invaders series. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. For more information, see his website at JohnConnollyBooks.com, or follow him on Twitter @JConnollyBooks.
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Top Customer Reviews
This tale builds slowly (as it should and during the brief passage of the first five chapters) through the eyes of a twelve year old boy named David. But the tale soon picks up speed on the doorstep of Chapter six. And then... watch out!
The source for most of the tales encountered by David, during his journey through an alternate but un-named land, is the Brother's Grimm. And the structure itself lends closely to Lewis Carroll's tales of Alice's adventure in Wonderland and her journey Through the Looking Glass. But we cannot omit L. Frank Baum from this porridge of evil but sublime. His imprint is there and presiding with more than a tip of the hat to Dorothy and her journey to Oz and to the `Magnificent Wizard' (and a reminder of at least a couple of her companions, along the way through that journey).
But don't think I'm going to say this tale is a `copy' of any of the above! The story is wholly original in the telling... and then some.
It should be said (and already has been) that this rendering is not for children. And it is not for the faint of heart. If anything, the story can be viewed as cautionary fairy tale melded with contemporary warning to the likes of Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy (and Gacy especially, when `feeling' the creepy crawly `below-world' of the crooked man and some of his personal culinary delights). Both of these monsters could easily have existed in David's alternate world.
And wasn't that, after all is said and done, the original warning of the Brother's Grimm?
Beware of that which seems innocent and pure because... it may be not!
He runs into the woods to leave this situation and on the other side of a tree is another world. A world that David would have to conquer in order to be released from it, and understands the true nature of goodness and love. After many adventures with stories of fairy tales that we might have read, (but these stories have their own twists), David must choose between good and evil. During this journey David finds himself growing from a child to a young man with a true heart. All lost things are found again.
Rose tries her best to make David feel comfortable, and even gives her the room of her late uncle, Jonathan Tulvey. The room is filled with Jonathan’s books and trinkets and David takes comfort in seeing that someone is as connected to stories as he is. David becomes curious and asks Rose about Jonathan and she explains that when he was younger he and his little sister vanished into thin air one day. David becomes intrigued by this and as time passes he begins to hear the books in his room talk to him, and he begins to dream of a very sinister man, whom he names “The Crooked Man.” These dreams become twisted with reality and as time passes, David travels to another world in which the fairy tale characters he has grown up reading about exist. However, these characters are not the same kind and caring versions that he has grown up to love. They are sinister and grim versions, each twisted into a new form.
These characters were one of the absolute best parts of the story. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you so I will just touch upon some awesomeness. First, Snow White is a fat, disgusting and mean person. Second, Ever wonder where werewolves came from? Little Red Riding Hood had some issues with bestiality (I promise the story does NOT go into detail at this point, thank goodness, because, EW.) and the Crooked Man is quite possibly one of the creepiest villains I have yet to encounter (Rumple who?) There was also a rather kind woodsman, a loyal knight and an extremely creepy Sleeping “Beauty” thrown into the mix. All of these characters David met on his journey to see the King, the ruler of the land, who was having a very hard time ruling. David learns something from each encounter and it is through these extremely trying situations that the reader is able to see him grow from a spoiled, selfish child into a mature and kind young man.
When pondering the setting to this story I realized how unique John Connolly writes. Ultimately, he was just writing about a vast forest, a small town, and a few huge castles. Yet, in my mind I saw a darkness creeping from the corners of my imagination toward David. I saw lights extinguishing behind him as he walked down the long corridor, I saw the trees sway when there was no wind. These are things Connolly simply hinted at yet I was able to pick up on these subtle images and make them into something that made me afraid as if I was the one walking through this land.
The Book of Lost Things is harrowing and phenomenal. I haven’t been so enthralled by a novel of this genre since reading The Child Thief by Brom. It was deeply imaginative and sinister enough to have even the bravest adult looking over their shoulder while reading.