Monday, February 18, 2008


The Secret of Lsot Things

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"The Secret of Lost Things" was one of the first audio books that I downloaded to my new Ipod. Unfortunately, I'm severely challenged with this new technology. The other book I downloaded skipped after a minute of each track which was terribly annoying and I finally gave it up. With "Secret", only the first two or three tracks skipped, so I was able to follow the storyline quite well. But about halfway through, it started back on the tenth track and did that a couple of times. I gave up and checked the book out from the library so I could finish it. Because I desperately wanted to know how it turned out. The novel is the story of Rosemary Savage who loses her mother when she is eighteen and never knew her father. She decides to leave her native Tasmania for New York City. Shortly after arriving, she lands a job at the Arcade, a huge bookstore which specializes in rare and antique books. Listening to this part was fascinating because the narrator did the accents so well, and Hay makes each character memorable. Besides the naive but lovely Rosemary, we meet among others: Oscar, the handsome manager of the nonfiction section, who only loves the quest for knowledge; Pearl, the transsexual with a heart of gold who will shortly have his/her life altering surgery; Mr. Mitchell, the overweight fatherly figure from the Rare Books room; and Walter Geist, the lonely, extremely odd albino who is the general manager of the Arcade. With such a varied and eclectic cast, who can blame me for being slightly ?? put out when my Ipod starting acting up. Hay takes her time building up these characters and setting the scene for the intrigue that follows as they try to obtain a lost manuscript that would be incredibly valuable. I especially loved that most of the action takes place in a bookstore that is chaotic and as eccentric as the staff who works there. Upon visiting the city library, Rosemary says: "I knew books to be objects that loved to cluster and form disordered piles, but here books seemed robbed of their zany capacity to fall about, to conspire. In the library, books behaved themselves." The conflict at the heart of the book builds up to a crashing crescendo that I probably would have enjoyed even more if I had listened to it instead of reading it. The lost manuscript becomes an allegory for the losses that Rosemary suffers during the year covered by the novel. At the end she holds an unopened present given to her by a friend when she left Tasmania. "There it was in my lap: a secret that told me that nothing is truly lost, but is simply replaced." This was such an interesting, well-written book that I'm sure I would have liked better if I had been able to read or listen to it all in the same medium. There is one weird and disturbing sexual encounter and I found the ending a little flat, otherwise, this was a really good book.
Rating: 4
Posted by Framed at 5:43 PM

Booklogged said...
Sounds good. Maybe we should get together and see if we can figure out what's wrong with the iPod. (I mean with the help of kids who are more techno-wise than we are.
11/19/2007 12:46 AM
Cassie said...
I'll have to take a look at your ipod when I come home and see what's going on.
11/19/2007 8:52 AM
Carrie K said...
Glad my iPhone isn't doing that. But I did go and buy the book I was listening to on it because it was just taking too darn long to hear it! Secrets sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.

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