Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly.

I love finding a new author, one who's been around for a while with a whole back catalogue of books to catch up on. After reading his collection of short stories Nocturnes, which you can read about here, I immediately went in search of the next John Connolly book to get my greedy little hands on. The Book of Lost Things was a christmas present and went straight to the top of my reading pile, which is massive by the way.

The Book of Lost Things tells the story of a young boy named David who is living in World War II London with his father and his terminal ill mother. She dies, like right away, so I'm not spoiling anthing for you if you haven't read it. David struggles to cope; it doesn't help that his father has moved on rather quickly with a new woman. They move in together and a baby is on the way. David finds solace in books, books his mother read to him and books that he read to his mother, which are fairytales that we all know and love, thanks to disney. Oh and  also the therapy sessions help him out too, did I forget to mention that David is a little unstable? He suffers from blackouts, vivid daydreams and even hears voices calling to him (thats kind of important). The basic plot strucure of this book is pretty similar to the Wizard of Oz but instead of a tornado, it's a German gun plane that crashs into Davids back garden, taking him into a wonderfully written world where every fairytale you thought you knew is subverted in ways you would never have expected. I'll never look at Snow White the same way ever again.

That's one of the things I love most about John Connolly, his abilty to take something you know and present it in a new and unexpected light. For me, he combines the best bits of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, and the Book of Lost Things showcases his style perfectly  This coming of age story is brilliantly written, well paced and gripping from start to finish. While the plot has a few flaws, it  more than makes up for it with its setting, tone and it's imaginative world of darkness and mystery. The book dealt with so many interesting topics and themes; the loss and grief of losing a parent, the transition from innocent childhood to the darker world of adulthood. Davids epic journey sees him overcome many obstacles and encounter a wide range of diverse charcters. I loved the wonderfully creepy crooked man, the shamed knight and of course the vindictive Snow White.

What I loved most about The Book of Lost Things though was its focus on books; the importance of stories in people lives, the impact they have and the difference they can make to people. John Connolly clearly loves books and it shows, his passion comes across on every page. If you love books and especially fairy tales then you should read this.

No comments:

Post a Comment