14 May 2011
Review: WHAT WAS LOST, Catherine O'Flynn - audio
A lost little girl with her notebook and toy monkey appears on the CCTV screens of the Green Oaks shopping centre, evoking memories of junior detective Kate Meaney, missing for 20 years.
Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, and Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at Your Music, follow her through the centre's endless corridors - welcome relief from the tedium of their lives.
But as this after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light. This is 21st-century Britain with its addiction to consumerism, absurdity, and loneliness, unspoken guilt and hidden lives.
My reaction to this book may be a bit low key because of the fragmented way in which I listened to it. I also found the narrator a little hard to understand and was sometimes left wondering what she had actually said. And while you are wondering, the problem compounds as you miss the next few sentences. Not a good recipe for reading enjoyment.
In the opening section of the book, Kate Meaney, a 10 year old, is conducting her own "detective agency". The action mainly consists of Kate watching people at the local shopping centre, and then noting down her observations. This becomes the substance of the novel, and to be frank, it becomes a little tedious.
Then the setting changed - what happened? Did I doze off? - I'm not sure but Kate is no longer the narrator. In fact, she's disappeared and it is 20 years on. And the remainder of the story works towards revealing what happened to Kate.
Not a captivating book for me, I'm afraid.
My rating: 3.5
I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as Bernadette on Reactions to Reading - she said it will probably be her book of the year.