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Roland Butter

What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn

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I love this book so much it's about time I wrote a review!

 

Title: What Was Lost

Author: Catherine O’Flynn

 

Synopsis: Ten year old Kate Meaney, a bright but serious child, lives with her grandmother. Kate’s only close friends are Adrian, the 22 year old son of a local newsagent, and the troubled new girl at school, Teresa. As proprietor of detective agency Falcon Investigations, Kate, accompanied by her business partner Mickey the toy monkey, spends her out-of-school hours patrolling the malls of Green Oaks shopping centre, convinced that, before long, her relentless surveillance and meticulous note-taking will thwart a major crime.

 

Christmas Day at Green Oaks, and security guard Kurt is listlessly scanning the CCTV monitors. Suddenly, fleetingly, the figure of a young girl appears in the deserted banking hall, a toy monkey peeping from her bag. Intrigued, and recalling the case of local girl Kate Meaney, who disappeared without trace 20 years earlier, Kurt and disillusioned store manager Lisa set out to find the little girl who has flitted across the screen.

 

Review: What Was Lost is an absorbing read which drew me in from the start with its well drawn account of Kate’s life, its sympathetic characterisation and its cleverly interwoven plots.

 

It’s part mystery: why did Kate go missing? Was she frightened of being sent away to boarding school? Was loner Adrian involved in her disappearance, as local people believed? Why are Kurt and Lisa so interested in the case of Kate Meaney? It’s part ghost story - how could the image of a little girl appear 20 years after her disappearance? And it’s part touching childhood reminiscence - many BCF readers will surely see something of themselves in the young Kate.

 

But it’s so much more. At its heart, What Was Lost is, as its title suggests, a tale of loss - loss of family and friends, loss of ambition, loss of hope. And it’s about searching for the things that we’ve lost, the places that quest takes us, and the things we find when we make that journey.

 

This is a book I read in three days (as opposed to my normal three weeks!), so that should be some indication of just how gripping I found it. A very impressive and thought-provoking debut from Catherine O’Flynn, and one I’d recommend highly.

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Ooh, this sounds good! I think it might have to join my TBR pile in the near future (as if that's not big enough already - thank you very much Roland). :lol:

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This sounds good - I'll look out for it at work.

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I just finished this book by Catherine O'Flynn tonight and really enjoyed it! I look forward to more of her work.

 

For those who like to read award winners........What Was Lost was the winner of the 2007 Costa First Novel Award. It was also short listed for The Guardian First Book Award, and long listed for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.

 

Grammyva

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I have this at home but haven't read it yet. The author works (or worked) at the Merry Hill Centre, which is very near to where I live, and I am a frequent visitor there.

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For me it was one of the best books I've read this year.

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I picked up this book at the library last year on a total whim, and I loved it too!

 

The writing is fantastic, especially that which is written from the little girl's point of view.

 

The whole book captures how bleak things look when precious things are lost.

 

Definitely one I would recommend!

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I enjoyed reading this book too. The writing from the girls point of view was really realistic. Probably one of the best writing of a child's perspective I have seen for a long time, if not ever.

 

I found much of the middle section to be average, but the ending was great.

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