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Lost: A Novel by Gregory Maguire

Lost: A Novel (edition 2002)

by Gregory Maguire

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2,547472,365 (2.76)74
Title:Lost: A Novel
Authors:Gregory Maguire
Info:Harper Paperbacks (2002), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Lost by Gregory Maguire

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    Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol by Tom Mula (WildMaggie)
    WildMaggie: Alternative views of Dicken's classic tale.

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The perpetual theme of this book is spelt out from the first to the last page. And at times I became lost in the plot; not because Winnie moves into the story she is writing, which in fact works well, but because the structure of the story, particularly towards the end, is weak.

In spite of my disappointment, both in the denouement and in the inconclusive finale, I found this book enjoyable to read because of the variety in writing style, the literary references and the clever use of vocabulary. There are so many carefully chosen words which Maguire uses effectively to explain the setting. When the Forever Families meeting first assembles he describes how “ Winnie and the other supplicants hung back”. He moves from sloppy American everyday language to describe the accident on the freeway to purple prose to build up the tension such as “Throughout the night, the house shuddered, the furnace gasping emphysematously(!), the windows bucking in their casings”. I also appreciate his acerbic wit in comments like “the pursuit of Happy meals”.

There seem to be two parallel threads running through the book; the loss of a child even referred to in metaphors such as “The window shattered spraying glassy baby teeth”, and the suspension and intermingling of time. The phrase “Time no longer” kept occurring to me and I finally identified it as coming from “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Philippa Pearce where two lonely children from different eras meet during troubled dreams at the time when the clock strikes 13. As an aficionado of children’s fiction, I wonder if Maguire was consciously or unconsciously using this plot as yet another form of inspiration for his book. I found the references to classic children’s books an interesting facet of the story, but it does presuppose that the reader is almost as familiar as he is with the other stories.

I did wonder early in the book whether Winnie was actually dead, as the haunting seemed to follow her, but gradually the suspense and fear created by Maguire was replaced by so much psychology about Winnie’s feelings of guilt and despair. Had I been the publisher of the book I would have returned it to Maguire so that he could tighten up the story structure and improved his characterisation to match his skill with language.

Obviously names are carefully chosen to match the characters, but I found this irritating. It is as if he doesn’t trust the reader to decide on a character’s motivation and purpose in the book. I kept wishing that Winifred Rudge had a flowing romantic name like Winona Ryder. Then perhaps she might have been a more sympathetic character.

So, an unusual book which was worth reading, but somehow it fails to achieve- whatever it was trying to do? I do, however want to read “Wicked” and “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” since they sound much more my cup of tea.
( )
  Somerville66 | May 29, 2017 |
Lost was interesting in the beginning but it quickly lost any sort of momentum as it progressed. It begins with an eye-catching scene of a car accident that the protagonist Winnie sees and tries to help. Then it quickly moves to an adoption service Forever Families and we briefly meet families both in the traditional and non-traditional sense who are in the process of trying to adopt. Then we're off to England where Winnie is supposed to meet her step cousin and "friend" John Comestor. But when she arrives, he's nowhere to be seen, the house is being worked on, there's a loud pounding coming from the chimney, no one wants to really talk to Winnie and weird things are happening.

I did not care for this novel. It was interesting in the beginning but it quickly lost any sort of momentum as it progressed. I was halfway through this book before I got fed up with the fact that there is no focus for where the story is going. It seems like Maguire had a sudden, great idea for a story and then lost steam and interest as it went along. I enjoyed "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" immensely, but this was just awful. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Wasn't too impressed with this one. Loved Wicked and thought the rest of that series went downhill after the first one. Thinking maybe I'll read Confessions of an Evil Stepsister once I exhaust my other books....so it'll be awhile. ( )
  faerychikk | Jan 5, 2016 |
Very atmospheric ghost story ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
Winifred Rudge writes children’s books, she has also written a best seller the royalties of which supports her. Working on a new book, a change from her usual fare, she travels to London for ‘research’. She normally stays with her old friend and cousin (by marriage) John Comestor, but when she gets to his house, she finds he is gone and the house is apparently haunted. Winnie becomes obsessed with finding out what has happened to John and who or what is haunting the house.

Included in the story is Winnie’s new novel, or the notes for it. Rather confusing at first because the thoughts spring up in the middle of Winnie doing something. However once I realized what was going on, I was able to follow the two story lines rather easily.

The story of the Ghosts of Christmas (A Christmas Carol) is interwoven in this account along with other stories I am not familiar with. This is ghost story involving old ghosts known for a long time, but not known and also recently discovered. Its all explained in the book.

There are two main characters in this story, two people that have lost something, Winnie and the ghost. The ghost is centuries old and has been searching for a long time, Winnie’s lose is more recent. In summary there is more then one plot line in this narrative and at times it can get confusing, however in the end, all the stories come together and sort of make sense. ( )
  BellaFoxx | Feb 14, 2015 |
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For Maggie and Dan Terris, with love
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"Somebody else in the vehicle," said the attorney-type into his cell phone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060988649, Paperback)

Winifred Rudge, a bemused writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to jump-start her new novel about a woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her stepcousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his home. Is the spirit Winnie's great-great-grandfather, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens's childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin? Winnie begins to investigate and finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of specters and shades—some from her family's peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past.

In the spirit of A. S. Byatt's Possession, with dark echoing overtones of A Christmas Carol, Lost presents a rich fictional world that will enrapture its readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this third novel by the acclaimed bestselling author of "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister", famed children's book author Winifred Rudge travels to London to research a book about a woman who is being haunted by Jack the Ripper.

(summary from another edition)

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