Friday, 20 September 2013

Guest Post: My Favourite Adult Book

Today for the first time I have guest post which has been written by Helen from Fennell Books. After you've read her post you can check out her blog over at Fennell Books. Helen has kindly put together this post as part of the Philofaxy All Stars Tour.

A big thank you to Paula for allowing me a slot on her lovely blog as a part of the Philofaxy All Stars Blogging event.

Paula asked me to write about my favourite book, what a question to ask a bookworm! I have mulled this over for quite some time, and it isn’t easy to answer. If I am after a good laugh it would be a Pratchett or a Wodehouse, if I want something beautifully written which I can immerse myself in it would be The Remains of the Day or A month In The Country. The Darling Buds of May meets the feel good factor and The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is the first really grown up story I read which made me think more widely than just about adventure.  So, which book to write about? In the end, I thought I would write about a book which I think about on and off with a reasonably regular frequency, even though I read it several years ago.  This book is What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn.

I picked up What Was Lost randomly from the library, for no other reason than it sounded unusual. The book is about a ten year old girl called Kate, set in 1984, she likes to play detectives in the newly opened shopping centre close to her home. One day she goes missing, and the case remains unsolved. Fast forward to 2004 and a security guard in the same shopping centre and sales lady from the record store set out to discover what happened to Kate.

The first part of the book is narrated by Kate, and O’Flynn pitches the voice of the little girl and her imagination perfectly, and perhaps it has a particular resonance with me as I would have been about the same age in 1984. As the novel jumps to 2004, the shopping centre’s soulless existence is still there. What Catherine O’Flynn does brilliantly is capture the ordinary in everyday life, against a backdrop of the delicate and disconcerting mystery of Kate’s disappearance. The book is multi-layered, just as life is, and loss and disappointment are explored with a gentle touch.

I know this doesn’t sound like a cheery read, but the mystery in itself is genuinely brilliant and touching and the books is worth reading just for that. The almost perfect capturing of real life also left me far more aware of the people around me, those I know and those I don’t and what they may be carrying with them, which doesn’t outwardly manifest itself. 

Thanks Helen for a fantastic post.

1 comment:

  1. Your last paragraph resonated with me. Learned today that a classmate passed away. Didn't know him well or remember much about him from school. Incidentally we just had our 40th high school reunion last weekend; he did not attend. He died unexpectedly last night at age 58. I will miss his Facebook posts and wish I had taken more time to comment on them. That is why what you wrote in your last paragraph seems so poignant today. I hope to carry that lesson forward and may also look for that book in my library. Perfectly timed wake up call...thank you!