What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn
I’ll be honest with you, I enjoyed this book more than I expected to.
It captivates from the beginning, by setting up an adventure, mystery like mood and introducing the type of character that I usually enjoy following: a smart kid with taste for adventure.
So we meet Kate, a 10 year old clever girl who wants to become a detective. Kate is very observant and she doesn’t have many friends except her partner Mickey, a stuffed monkey dressed in a “pinstriped gangster suit with spats”. Together they form Falcon Investigations, and in need of a crime to solve, they hang around Green Oaks, a local shopping centre, where they observe and take notes of the suspicious.
She also develops a friendship with Adrian, a twenty two year old graduate who, to his father’s concern, prefers spending his time working in his dad’s newsagency, rather than pursuing a “serious career”.
Then one day, Kate goes to take an admission exam for a boarding school and never comes back.
Twenty years later, haunted by images of a little girl caught on a surveillance camera and the discovery of a discarded Mickey, Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, and Lisa, a weary deputy manager of a music store, begin to unravel a forgotten mystery.
The main theme of the book revolves around the different types of loss we experience and the pain that comes with it and how this impacts us on the most deeper levels of our lives.
“She was learning that there were different degrees to loss – subtle gradations invisible to most.”
All main characters of the book have something in common: they’ve all lost someone and their way in life or themselves. And as the story unfolds, we too get a sense of loss when Kate disappears.
I guess I didn’t realise how emotionally charged I was with this book until I read the final page, closed it and found with surprise I was about to cry.
What was lost is a moving novel, a little jewel of a book I was happy to discover and I strongly recommend you read it too.