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Everything We Lost: A Novel Paperback – August 22, 2017
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“Lucid and dense with detail, Everything We Lost is Gone Girl meets The X-Files, a mesmerizing dive into the changeling depths of memory and grief.” (Carrie La Seur, author of The Home Place and The Weight of an Infinite Sky)
From the Back Cover
From the critically acclaimed author of Crooked River comes a fascinating novel about a young woman searching for answers about her brother’s long-ago disappearance
Lucy Durant was only fourteen years old when she lost her older brother, Nolan. First to his paranoid delusions as he became increasingly obsessed with UFOs and government conspiracies. Then, permanently, to the wilderness outside Bishop, California, when he walked into the desert and never returned.
On the tenth anniversary of Nolan’s mysterious disappearance, Lucy is still struggling with guilt and confusion—her memories from that period are blurry and obscured by time, distance, and alcohol. An adult now, she’s stuck in a holding pattern, hiding out at her father’s house, avoiding people, and doing whatever she can to keep herself from thinking about Nolan. But when a series of unsettling events leads Lucy back to Bishop, she is forced to reconcile with her estranged mother and come to terms with the tangled memories of her past to discover what really happened to her brother all those years ago.
Told in Lucy’s and Nolan’s alternating voices, Everything We Lost is a psychological mystery exploring family, beliefs, obsessions, the nature of memory, and fear of the unknown.
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"Lucy Durant was only fourteen-years-old when she lost her older brother. First to his paranoid delusions as he became increasingly obsessed with UFOs and government conspiracies. Then, permanently, when he walked into the desert outside Bishop, California, and never returned.
Now on the tenth anniversary of Nolan's mysterious disappearance, Lucy is still struggling with guilt and confusion--her memories from that period are blurry and obscured by time, distance, and alcohol. Now an adult, she's stuck in a holding pattern, hiding out at her father's house, avoiding people, and doing whatever she can to keep herself from thinking about Nolan. But when a series of unsettling events leads Lucy back to Bishop, she is forced to reconcile with her estranged mother and come to terms with the tangled memories of her past to discover what really happened to her brother all those years ago.
Told in Lucy and Nolan's alternating voices, Everything We Lost is a psychological mystery exploring family, beliefs, obsessions, the nature of memory, and fear of the unknown--a haunting, compelling story that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned."
Everything We Lost is one of those books that I can already tell is going to stick with me for awhile to come. It was an unexpected read for me and also one that I enjoyed immensely despite everything that goes on in this story. I'm not even sure those two descriptions make sense together but it is the truth. I almost hate to say that I find books to be unexpected because how in the world do I know what to expect in the first place from a book that I haven't read? But the statement is accurate here because I went into this book thinking it was about Lucy's search for her missing brother. It is that but it is also so much more! This book is this almost perfect mix of two very different things: one is the possibility of other life forms that we don't know of yet (and Nolan's search for these things) and the other is the mystery of what really happened when Nolan disappeared so long ago. This author takes those two story lines and blends them together so seamlessly throughout the book. It was almost hard to tell which one was which at times. Yet it made such an intriguing combination, and even now I'm blown away by how the author managed to keep it all together so that even the ending fit in perfectly with all of this.
This book is told from two different viewpoints: Lucy's viewpoint in the present and also Nolan's viewpoint from the days leading up to before he disappeared. The author managed to create all of these questions for me as the reader that were constantly running through my head while reading. Were there really other life forms and did these things factor into Nolan's disappearance? Was Nolan dead after something horrible that might have happened to him so long ago? Was he going crazy? It caused me to be unable to put this book down because I was so caught up within the story. I also loved how focused this book was on outer space, the stars, and other planets. I really read this at the perfect time with the solar eclipse this week being all over the news. Add to it that after finishing this book my husband and I watched The Passengers movie (also featuring outer space) and it just enhanced my reading experience so much more. I'm going to get into slightly spoiler-ey topics here so be warned you might want to move on to my final thoughts if you don't want to read this last part. I'm going out on a limb here but I think that the ending of this book is going to cause mixed reactions among readers. I think that the author ended it perfectly myself and it felt very true to the way the entire book was set up. But I do think that others could possibly not agree which is a shame. I loved it even when I wanted more!
Overall I really, really enjoyed this book and am so glad that I had the chance to read it! It isn't the usual type of book that I read but I think that just made me want to branch off from my usual reads a little more often. This book reminded me a bit of a book I read last year - Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay so if you read this one and want something similar give that one a try. I really can't wait to see what other readers think of this book. I enjoyed it so much and know that I won't be forgetting it anytime in the near future. Highly recommended!
Bottom Line: A book that I can't stop thinking about!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.
On December 5, 1999, sixteen-year-old Nolan Durant left his home in Bishop, California, with a backpack and several hundred dollars in cash. He never returned. Ten years later Lucy, his now twenty-four-year-old younger sister, has been kicked out of her father's house. This, along with an article her mother wrote, becomes the impetus she needs to set off back to Bishop where she will try to reconcile with her estranged mother, get answers, and confront her missing memories of Nolan and that night.
Although she and Nolan were close as children, as a fourteen-year-old Lucy became progressively distant and hostile toward Nolan. Nolan was increasingly becoming more and more fixated with UFOs. He recorded his obsession in his casebook, a composition book where he noted his UFO sightings, strange happenings, and supporting information about the events. As Nolan's paranoid delusions increased, so did Lucy's distance from him.
Chapters alternate between the voices of Lucy today and Nolan in 1999. In the present day, Lucy returns to Bishop, reflecting on the past while trying to recover her missing memories and figure out what really happened to Nolan. In 1999 Nolan is the narrator. His chapters open with a section from his casebook notes and then tell his story from his point-of-view. It becomes steadily obvious that Nolan is suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness.
The writing is excellent. I was totally immersed in the story and anxiously read to find out what would happen next in the present as well as 1999. Both Lucy and Nolan are well-developed, believable characters. Present day Lucy is stuck in a rut and needs to find some kind of closure in order to move on with her life. Geary has accurately captured the cruelties of peer pressure, being an outcast, and trying to fit into high school cliques with Lucy and being an outsider and increasingly different with Nolan. Their totally inadequate ineffectual parents are equally well-developed. The way the three handle the uncertainty of Nolan's fate is an insightful look into their personalities.
I was captivated by Everything We Lost and anxious to read what happened next in both timelines. (I am actually surprised that more ratings aren't glowing about this fine novel. I can concede that the ending might disappoint some readers but I thought it was well done. I'll be anxiously awaiting Geary's next novel.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.