The Room of Lost Things Hardcover – Mar 6 2008
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Stella Duffy is a writer who never lets you down, and this is her most ambitious, satisfying book yet.―Ali Smith
Stella Duffy strides into a whole new league with her lyrical, gritty, deeply affecting journey into the heart and soul of south London.―Manda Scott
About the Author
Stella Duffy is the author of seven novels and the Saz Martin crime series. She has published over thirty short stories, many feature articles, and also writes for radio and theatre. Stella Duffy was born in the UK, grew up in New Zealand and now lives in London. In addition to her writing work she is an actor and improviser.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Stored in a room above the dry-cleaning shop are a multitude of carefully labelled boxes containing unclaimed personal items that were left in the clothes customers brought in. These items hint at mysteries and personal stories that number in the hundreds, but also include clues about the past of Robert himself and the reasons why he is alienated from his family. Duffy's musing on these bits of collected belongings speak powerfully about the importance of objects in our lives and how items which were once meaningful can gradually be forgotten - just as our relationships with loved ones who are physically lost to us fade. The descriptions of Robert's humble, solitary existence make a particularly powerful portrait of male solitude. Robert embodies a rather old-fashioned view that men must do what needs to be done while keeping their emotions carefully guarded. Duffy manages to skilfully convey this with descriptions of the character's actions and when he does finally allow himself to open up about his feelings it is utterly heartbreaking.
Equally moving is the story of a homophobic attack made on Stefan during the novel. The incident prompts this independent character to gradually allow a greater degree of intimacy with a man he had carefully bracketed as a casual sexual partner up until this point. The assault brings up other issues such as problematic racial and religious divisions which are threaded throughout the other tales in this novel. For such a varied group of people to live in such a small area, there are often clashes, disagreements, miscommunications and occasional revelatory glimpses of understanding. Duffy conveys a strong sense of spiritual richness in a community that simmers with diverse individuals.