The Room of Lost Things is set in London, and shows a side to the city which isn’t often seen. The book is set in a dry-cleaning shop and follows its owner, Robert, as he decides to retire and pass his business on to the young, east Londoner, Akeel. The book gives brief glimpses into the lives of those who enter the dry-cleaning shop, or some who are simply are passing by. In doing so it paints a picture of the people who live near the railway arch of Loughborough Junction, south London.
Unfortunately I didn’t fall in love with this book. There were too many characters introduced too quickly. I didn’t count them, but I saw one review on Amazon which stated that 26 were introduced by the half way point. I know that this was to demonstrate the diversity of the local population, and that we are only supposed to capture glimpses of their lives as you would in a dry-cleaning shop, but my poor little brain can’t cope with this sort of thing, and I had nothing to pull me in to the book.
The book improved in the second half as we learned more about Robert, and I got a bit more used to the writing style. I found the ending quite poignant, but I’m afraid that a great last paragraph couldn’t compensate for the lack of real plot during the rest of the book.
The Room of Lost Things was recommended to me by Simon, and I have seen a few other good reviews around. So, please do not dismiss this book on my account. I am well known for having a poor capacity for coping with lots of different characters, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book much more than me.