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Lost: A Novel

av Gregory Maguire

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2,850503,624 (2.79)88
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.… (mer)
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I did not enjoy this. There was too much going on and none of it was very interesting. ( )
  afrozenbookparadise | Apr 22, 2021 |
I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I was enthralled immediately, and could not wait to get back to it, for more! the ending was a little glossed over, though.. and felt unfinished. The haunting was never completely explained, and I wished for more. There were too many characters in the beginning, with a few brought back at the end (and so much has happened, you may forget who they are.) The lead character was an odd duck, but through her transformations, we hope she became a "full" person, complete with a joyous will to live. I loved it, none-the-less!! ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
This book was a chore to read, and I only finished it because I had brought it on vacation and had no other options. Used to being completely overwhelmed with the deep magic and inimitable creativity, humor, and darkness of Gregory Maguire, this book was a dead fish of a read. I think this would have been a great short story, but it just drags at novel length. ( )
  Samberry | Aug 3, 2019 |
To this day, the ultimate reveal of the protagonist's past haunts me like no other. In retrospect, I suppose, it isn't all that horrific. But it was the catalyst for me taking an interest into twisted, perhaps a little mentally unstable protagonists who refuse to face the terrible, dark secrets of their past. ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
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 |
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The division of one day from the next must be one of the most profound peculiarities of life on this planet. It is, on the whole, a merciful arrangement. We are not condemned to sustained flights of being, but are constantly refreshed by little holidays from ourselves. We are intermittent creatures, always falling to little ends and rising to little new beginnings. Our soon-tired consciousness is meted out in chapters, and that the world will look quite different tomorrow is, for both our comfort and our discomfort, usually true. How marvelously too night matches sleep, sweet image of it, so neatly apportioned to our need. Angels must wonder at these beings who fall so regularly our of awareness into a fantasm-invested dark. How our frail identities survive these chasms no philosopher has ever been able to explain. - Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince
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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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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.

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