The Book of Lost Things
I can't quite believe this book has passed me by, until now.
When I announced that I was organising an event with the crime writer John Connolly to launch his new title 'A Book of Bones', two people told me to read this standalone novel. I politely thanked them, but instead concentrated on reading the 700 page new book in preparation for his visit.
It was only when I told his publicist how much I enjoyed his supernatural-horror-crime-story - how can I possibly have enjoyed something in this genre?! - and she recommended also reading this book, that I was suitably intrigued and let it leapfrog all the other titles in my TBR pile.
And it's astonishing!
So beautiful, fascinating, intriguing, clever, bewitching. And all about the power of stories to heal us, to help us grow and mend, and to give us hope.
Twelve-year-old David is grieving the loss of his mother. He gains some consolation by losing himself in the stories they used to read together. But when his father finds a new partner, and they all move house and celebrate the birth of a new child, David's willingness to differentiate between fact and fiction diminishes. Ultimately he steps into the world of fairy tales, desperate to find his mother and bring her back to life.
Through adventures with the Woodman, the seven dwarfs, Cinderella and others, David learns how to survive in this other world, and of course how to survive in the real world too.
It is a wonderful book which deserves to be revisited time and again, and to be recommended widely. Though from my experience, recommending isn't enough - this book should be given as a gift, and the recipient should be told to open the first page and to start reading there and then. They too will be hooked, and delighted.