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What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn

What Was Lost (2007)

by Catherine O'Flynn

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1,141None7,149 (3.68)130
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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
What a dissappointing book this was! I dove into it with good expectations seeing that it was a Costa Award recipient and because the plot caught my eye; but boy! was I wrong. The book was good all through Kate's story, which was up to page 60+; but then the author switched to Lisa's story and that dominated the rest of the book. Lisa's story is so depressing it made me suggest she killed herself. Her and Kurt and Gavin. What sorry lives they led! And what a waste of time it was to read about it! The book closes nicely; but that was the last 10 pages, so that means I had to go through 80% of sad, depressing and pathetic narrative to get a semi decent ending. Sorry, but I just don't see how this book earned a Costa. I am not even going to bother in writing a summary of it. Read and shelved. Moving on. ( )
  AleAleta | Mar 22, 2014 |
I liked the beginning of this. The voice was enjoyable...then the summer caught up with me and I set this down. After book club discussion I will most likely not return to it. Back to the library with it. Just not compelling enough to return to with all the other summer goodness going on around me. ( )
  dms02 | Feb 27, 2014 |
Engrossing story telling with lots of interwoven threads centred around Kate Meaney, a young girl who goes missing. The story is not so much about the search for Kate but about the consequences of a child's disappearance on others. ( )
  sianpr | Aug 24, 2013 |
I have found another new favorite author in Catherine O’Flynn. In her What Was Lost she takes her time and develops her story slowly and the reader is drawn firstly into the life of a 10 year old girl and then into the lives of two disenchanted people who work at the Green Oaks Shopping Centre. In fact the Green Oaks Shopping Center could be said to be the main character in the book as the story ebbs and flows through the centre’s endless corridors.

The book opens in 1984 and we meet Kate, a little girl who escapes her dreary life by pretending to be a detective. With her stuffed monkey and notebook in tow she is always on the lookout for suspicious behavior and one of her favorite hunting grounds is the new shopping centre, Green Oaks. As she notices someone who behaves suspiciously she is determined to tail him and find out what he is up to.

The book then jumps ahead 20 years and the mall is the working place of Kurt, a security guard and Lisa, an assistant manager of a music store. Late one night as he is watching the CTV screens, Kurt sees a little girl with a notebook and a toy monkey standing outside the bank, and, as she travels the back corridors of the mall, Lisa finds a stuffed money tucked in behind some pipes. As these two get together they first search for a lost little girl, but eventually realize they are experiencing links to the past when a little girl called Kate disappeared

I found What Was Lost a charming yet spooky story, with a unique plot that is made up of both the mystery and ghost story as well as a social commentary on consumerism and the dehumanising effects of these giant shopping malls. People’s reaction to this book appears to be varied, but for me, this was a brilliant, spell bounding read from a very talented writer and I can’t wait to see what she produces next. ( )
3 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jun 23, 2013 |
A bright but lonely 10-year-old girl disappeared without a trace in 1984, and the incident continues to affect the lives of several individuals almost twenty years later. Kate Meaney was a solitary child who spent a good part of her days honing her detective skills at the new shopping mall built on the ruins of an industrial estate. Twenty years later, Lisa Palmer, sister of the prime suspect in Kate's disappearance, works as a mid-level manager at a music store in the mall. Kurt, a mall security guard, had played among the factory ruins before the mall was built. When Kurt and Lisa meet, their friendship may provide answers to the long-ago mystery.

What Was Lost is as much as anything a story about the lost innocence of childhood. Although Kurt and Lisa are adults when readers meet them, their characters were shaped by significant events in their childhood. Kate's personality dominates the story. Kurt and Lisa seem more like echoes of Kate than characters with their own personalities. There is too much similarity between their voices.

The book captures the feel of the Midlands with the decline of industry and the rise of consumer culture. I think What Was Lost would have the same attraction for mall workers that Last Night at the Lobster has for restaurant workers. The novel has enough mystery to appeal to readers of crime fiction, but not enough to alienate readers who dislike that genre. Although the book has its flaws, it's a promising first novel and I can see why it caught the attention of several literary award committees. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jun 15, 2013 |
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Written for Peter and dedicated to the memory of Donal of Hillstreet and Ellen of Oylegate.
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Crime was out there.
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Book description
Precocious 10 year old sleuth goes missing. Intertwined characters take up an investigation of what happens 20 years later.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805088334, Paperback)

A tender and sharply observant debut novel about a missing young girl—winner of the Costa First Novel Award and long-listed for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and The Guardian First Book Award

In the 1980s, Kate Meaney—“Top Secret” notebook and toy monkey in tow—is hard at work as a junior detective. Busy trailing “suspects” and carefully observing everything around her at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping mall, she forms an unlikely friendship with Adrian, the son of a local shopkeeper. But when this curious, independent-spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.

Then, in 2003, Adrian’s sister Lisa—stuck in a dead-end relationship—is working as a manager at Your Music, a discount record store. Every day she tears her hair out at the outrageous behavior of her customers and colleagues. But along with a security guard, Kurt, she becomes entranced by the little girl glimpsed on the mall’s surveillance cameras. As their after-hours friendship intensifies, Lisa and Kurt investigate how these sightings might be connected to the unsettling history of Green Oaks itself. Written with warmth and wit, What Was Lost is a haunting debut from an incredible new talent.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Twenty years after her brother is hounded from his home by rumors about his alleged role in a young girl's disappearance, Lisa and her security guard friend become increasingly curious about a child they glimpse on a mall's surveillance cameras.

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