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The Book of Lost Things: A Novel [Paperback]

John Connolly
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 16 2007
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own -- populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

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From Publishers Weekly

Thriller writer Connolly (Every Dead Thing) turns from criminal fears to primal fears in this enchanting novel about a 12-year-old English boy, David, who is thrust into a realm where eternal stories and fairy tales assume an often gruesome reality. Books are the magic that speak to David, whose mother has died at the start of WWII after a long debilitating illness. His father remarries, and soon his stepmother is pregnant with yet another interloper who will threaten David's place in his father's life. When a portal to another world opens in time-honored fashion, David enters a land of beasts and monsters where he must undertake a quest if he is to earn his way back out. Connolly echoes many great fairy tales and legends (Little Red Riding Hood, Roland, Hansel and Gretel), but cleverly twists them to his own purposes. Despite horrific elements, this tale is never truly frightening, but is consistently entertaining as David learns lessons of bravery, loyalty and honor that all of us should learn. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'The book's epic villainy, mournful tone and tested morality is the essence of Connolly. Worst of all is the Crooked Man, who ranks with the Travelling Man, the Collector and even Mr Pudd among Connolly's most memorable villains. 'THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS is peculiar and perverse and humane, with an incredibly lyrical finale ... The novel should earn the author new readers.' -- The Irish Times 'Something very special indeed' -- Mark Billingham 'A powerful, powerful writer. I got a very real chill down my spine. This is an amazing book.' -- Jeffery Deaver 'Charming, disturbing and outrageously imaginative. A tremendously exciting change of pace.' -- Lawrence Jackson, Producer of BBC Radio 4's adaptations of John Connolly's short stories 'Brilliantly creepy coming of age novel' -- Mirror --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Lost Things Oct. 1 2012
Its an amazing book full of adventure. It can be scary and horrific at times but you will never get bored. You will need to know what happens next and you won't be able to stop reading it! I am an 19 year old who loved every second of it. Its a book for all ages but not for a child.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Lost Things June 4 2007
By maggie
From reading this book, The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly, one is able to reflect their past experience to events that occurred within the book. John Connolly displays a boy's life and transition from childhood to manhood. Events within the book reveal many lessons to be learned in life. I enjoyed the concept of a boy's journey to realize what he really lost and found from the tragic lost of his mother. The key moral to be obtained from the book is that with every action taken, there is a sacrifice to be compensated. The main character, David, discovered this when he encountered the ghost of a little girl who had gone through a devastating death.

One of my most favourite characters within the book was Roland. Roland was a knight who was in search for a dark tower. As you read the book, you will recognize many tales within it and one of the tales was about a knight who was in search of a tower to rescue a princess that was trapped within it. This short story was a bit altered in the book; it was a combination of Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. The reason why I favour this character is because of his life story. He was in love with another knight and was in search for that knight, who had gone on the quest in search for the dark tower. Roland met his end in the tower but was still able to find his lost love. Though it was a tragedy, it ended in a happy ending for Roland.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow Aug. 12 2009
A wonderful fairy tale. This is a book you will not easily forget. Good luck sleeping at night. You won't want to put it down!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  279 reviews
74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One highly enjoyable and extremely adult fairy tale. Nov. 6 2006
By Tom H - Published on
In this first departure from mystery novels (discounting of course his excellent collection of deep and dark stories from a previous book titled Nocturnes) John Connolly manages to meld illogical with logical and to remind us all that what may seem real is just another side of a coin conveniently labeled nightmare and fantasy.

This tale builds slowly (as it should and during the brief passage of the first five chapters) through the eyes of a twelve year old boy named David. But the tale soon picks up speed on the doorstep of Chapter six. And then... watch out!

The source for most of the tales encountered by David, during his journey through an alternate but un-named land, is the Brother's Grimm. And the structure itself lends closely to Lewis Carroll's tales of Alice's adventure in Wonderland and her journey Through the Looking Glass. But we cannot omit L. Frank Baum from this porridge of evil but sublime. His imprint is there and presiding with more than a tip of the hat to Dorothy and her journey to Oz and to the `Magnificent Wizard' (and a reminder of at least a couple of her companions, along the way through that journey).

But don't think I'm going to say this tale is a `copy' of any of the above! The story is wholly original in the telling... and then some.

It should be said (and already has been) that this rendering is not for children. And it is not for the faint of heart. If anything, the story can be viewed as cautionary fairy tale melded with contemporary warning to the likes of Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy (and Gacy especially, when `feeling' the creepy crawly `below-world' of the crooked man and some of his personal culinary delights). Both of these monsters could easily have existed in David's alternate world.

And wasn't that, after all is said and done, the original warning of the Brother's Grimm?

Beware of that which seems innocent and pure because... it may be not!
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a Fantastic Read!! Nov. 5 2006
By ellen - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When you see John Connolly's name on a book, it's a no brainer it will be fabulous - from Charlie Parker to this wondrous book. This book caught my imagination from the book cover. As one who holds books like they are part of me, the thought of books whispering, actions done that confirms no harm will happen the next day, even our darkest thoughts as children and adults draws me into its web. This masterful novel deals with a young boy, David, who has lost his mother, and sees his father have to marry his pregnant girlfriend, and then, adding insult to injury, they have a baby, usurping the attention David thought he should have.
He runs into the woods to leave this situation and on the other side of a tree is another world. A world that David would have to conquer in order to be released from it, and understands the true nature of goodness and love. After many adventures with stories of fairy tales that we might have read, (but these stories have their own twists), David must choose between good and evil. During this journey David finds himself growing from a child to a young man with a true heart. All lost things are found again.
89 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Mr. Connolly! Nov. 1 2006
By Cynthia - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read all of John Connolly's other novels and love them. Only problem I have is that he can't write them quickly enough to satisfy my desire. (smile) Began 'Book of Lost Things' late last night and, like another reviewer, read it in one sitting. WHAT a story! WHAT a storyteller! The book held me from the very beginning with the books, the books talking, the life of books, the emotion of books! There was even a passage that brought a tear to my eyes, the passage about the boy discovering pictures of his mother as a young girl and realized she had an entire life separate from him. Since I've lost my own mother, and now have pictures of her as a girl I, too, went through that 'aha' experience. John Connolly reaches deep into the heart of us all, if we are receptive to him. This is a book for all those who believe in the life of books and the power of words. It is a book NOT to be missed and a book I hope earns every award possible. Trust me, if you have a heart, the ending will have you crying and the final pages will have you returning to read them again and again. He is truly a master storyteller and, to my mind, what better thing can one be? Mr. Connolly thank you, thank you for the enjoyment you bring to many of us. And, to the reviewer who said he read this story via download, why read it any other way? Because a download is NOT a book. There is something about a book, the smell, the feel ......the LIFE.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grimmer than Grimm Jan. 11 2007
By L. J. Roberts - Published on
12-year-old David loves to read and, upon the death of his mother, hears books talking. Still mourning the loss of his mother, his father tells him he'll have a new mother and a baby brother or sister. They move out of London to his stepmother Rose's huge house in the country where he is given a room filled with books but feels angry and displaced by Rose and the baby. Soon he starts seeing The Crooked Man and discovers a passage into a different world filled with wolves, loups, harpies, trolls and others including a Woodsman who helps him on his journey to see the King and back to his own world.

This is definitely not Disney's version of fairy tales and even the Brothers Grimm might find parts of this a bit horrific. Connolly's definition of "happy ever after" may be realistic but is definitely sad. Yes, there are lessons of bravery, loyalty and love, but I found the story repetitive and lacking the "magic" that makes fairy tales so memorable. Connolly is a superb writer. His Charlie Parker books, up until "Dark Angel." were masterful in their balance of horrible and humor, humanity and paranormal and were written with such a lyrical style. That was lost with "Dark Angel" and is missing here as well. The last 10-11 pages were wonderful but it's not a story I'll go back and re-read as I do "Beauty and the Beast," Neil Gaiman's 'Coraline,' or Raymond Feist's "Fairie Tale," one of my favorites.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gone missing Oct. 4 2008
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on
How many avid readers just like us have used books as a retreat from life's difficulties. That's exactly what David does, when his mother dies, his father remarries, and a new little half brother enters the scene. WWII is heating up, and when a German bomber goes down in flames, landing in the family garden, David finds that the weirdest characters and places from his adventure tales are real. And dangerous. His life will never be the same, not even if he manages to escape with his life and return to his family.

An allegory on war and on conquering one's fears, The Book of Lost Things is anything but didactic. On the contrary, it's a perilous quest in the classic sense, full of the stuff of nightmares and horror stories. No cute little elves or fairies in David's new world, only plenty of slavering werewolves, terrible trolls, and horrific monsters which take shape in accordance with his own deepest dreads. The way in which he handles these unimaginable challenges forms the core of this story, which is magical in content but realistic in its truths.

Recommended highly to readers of skillfully written fantasy, especially if interested in "the uses of enchantment".
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