The Keeper of Lost Things
A NovelBook - 2017
From the critics
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Imagine you’ve lost something precious. Something small, insignificant even, to anyone else in the world. But imagine that the loss of this tiny object haunts you for the rest of your life. And maybe even afterlife. And imagine there is someone else in the world who treasures this object as much as you and would happily return it to you – except you each exist only on the periphery of each other’s lives, barely knowing each other exists.
This is just one of the premises at the heart of Ruth Hogan’s debut novel, The Keeper of Lost Things. The keeper is Anthony Peardew and those readers who know a smattering of French realize how apt his surname is. Anthony has been finding and keeping lost things for decades, ever since losing the one item and one person with whom he never wanted to part. He only tells his faithful assistant Laura of this collection in a post-mortem letter in which he leaves her everything, and asks of her the impossible – to reunite the lost things with their owners, if they want them.
Laura is befriended by Sunshine, a young woman with Down syndrome (dancing dome, in Sunshine’s words) who is far cleverer than Laura realizes, and by Freddy, Anthony’s former gardener. As they collectively decide how to approach this Herculean task, Laura comes to realize the house she loves is the least significant of the treasures Anthony has left her, and that the objects are connected in ways only fate could have orchestrated. Every lost object has its own story, amusing or poignant, real and imagined.
There is a major subplot involving an unusual couple (for the day) which seems completely out of place until it isn’t. This is what I love about this novel - the hints, clues and small details that – like the lost objects themselves – keep the reader going back and forth within the pages, piecing together their puzzle. As the novel nears conclusion the moving parts and separate stories very gently coalesce in the most satisfactory way, making this my favourite release so far this year. Enjoy – this book is a true keeper.
~Robyn Godfrey, Outreach and Collections Librarian
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