2015 Audio Book

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis (Audio book)

Lost & Found

Narrated by : Helen Walsh, Nicolette McKenzie and Nigel Carrington 

Five words from the blurb: girl, journey, discover, death, hope

Two trends seem to have dominated the fiction market recently:

  • Old people discovering the joys of life and doing adventurous/dangerous things
  • Child narrators, particularly those having a tough life.

Lost and Found manages to combine the two in a charming, but poignant way.

Millie is a seven-year-old girl who is abandoned by her mother after the death of her father. She is discovered by Agatha and Karl, two elderly people with their own set of issues. The trio embark on a journey across Australia in an attempt to reunite Millie with her mother. Lost and Found manages to combine the heartbreaking pain of a neglected child with the issues facing the elderly – wrapping it all together with warmth and gentle humor.

I started off reading a proof copy of this book, but when I was about a third of the way through the publishers contacted me, mentioning the audio version. I requested an audio download and switched to listening instead. This was definitely the right thing to do as the narrators were fantastic. They brought the jokes to life and the entire thing felt much more entertaining. The Australian humor benefited from being read aloud and I think this enabled me to pick up on many of the more subtle references.

It wasn’t great literature, but there were many original concepts that made me stop and think, particularly those involving the innocent logic of a child:

The start date and the end date are always the important bits on the gravestones, written in big letters. The dash between is always so small you can barely see it. Surely the dash should be big and bright and amazing, or not, depending on how you had lived…..Did Errol ever know that his life would be just a dash on a gravestone? That everything he did and all the food he ate and all the car trips he took and the kisses he gave would end up as a line on a rock?

Everything was much larger than life and the reader has to suspend their disbelief on many occasions, but I didn’t mind as it all added to the adventure. If you coped with The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson then this will seem almost plausible!

There were some points in the middle of the book where the story lost a little momentum and I occasionally became frustrated by Agatha’s aggressive rants at the world, but overall this was an entertaining read and it may well go on to win my mythical “ending of the year” award.

Recommended for those looking for an amusing distraction from conventional fiction.


The thoughts of other bloggers:

…there’s an undercurrent of mischievous delight and black humour that stops it from being sentimental or emotionally manipulative. Reading Matters

Nothing in the book was really believable enough to allow me to engage with it properly. Stephen Lemon Good Reads Reviewer

 It might be a “light” novel, but it’s not a prosaic or formulaic one. Whispering Gums

2015 Books in Translation

The Room by Jonas Karlsson

The Room Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith

Five words from the blurb: colleagues, different, fable, reality, office

The Room is a short, but entertaining fable about an office worker who discovers a room that no one else can see. Björn begins a new job at the “Authority” and when trying to find the toilet he accidentally walks into a strangely calming room. He becomes increasingly drawn towards it, discovering that he is easily able to perform complex tasks whilst there. The only problem is that his new colleagues are unable to see the room and become convinced that Björn is losing his mind.

“I passed the room twice that day. Once on my way to the toilet, and once when I tidied my desk and went to put two old journals in the recycling bin. I tried not to think about it. I did my best to imitate the others and pretend the room didn’t exist. It felt utterly ridiculous. Of course there’s a room there, I thought. After all, I can see it. I can touch it. I can feel it.

This book was very easy to read and managed to combine a satire of office politics with a surreal story that questions our perception of reality. I loved the way that the bizarre circumstances were made to feel completely normal and I felt great sympathy for those on both sides of the argument.

If you’ve ever worked in an office you’ll appreciate the humorous observations about working with people with whom you have nothing in common and if you enjoy Kafka’s books then I’m sure you’ll appreciate this modern equivalent of his style. Recommended to anyone looking for something a little different.


The thoughts of other bloggers:

For something that sounds and appears so bare and simple it is a richly complex and refreshing read. The Literary Tree (warning this review contains spoilers)

The Room has the makings of a cult classic. Learn this Phrase

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this on my Books of the Year list come December. Me and My Big Mouth

Note: I couldn’t find any negative reviews of this book. I don’t know if that is because it has only just been published or because it is universally loved!