Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The Keeper Of Lost Things - Ruth Hogan

In these troubled and contentious times of ours where practically every newspaper you pick up is full of doom, gloom, tragedy and despair a book like this is a wonderful antidote to the almost nihilism that threatens to engulf us.

Hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Many of the hallmarks that might mark it as such are not there. The over extravagance of language is reduced to all that is necessary and no more which makes for what I like to call a ‘snowball read’ - one where the book and its characters gather momentum and urge you along with them. The story was charmingly original, something we can all identify with. Who hasn’t ever lost something precious? And who has never found something that just might be precious to whoever lost it? It’s a simple premise but it really works.

The phrase ‘feel good’ is sometimes bandied about in respect of books and films and arguably there are some incidents and stories n this book which are more feel bad then feel good but somehow it seems to achieve a yin yang balance with the flotsam and jetsam of life. And that balance endures between the concrete real and the abstract spiritual. It won’t work for everyone but if you have a healthy imagination and a penchant for the whimsical this book will please you more than many. 

There are some captivating characters in this book; Sunshine is an absolute delight and the author has tapped into that almost savant like ability to speak absolute wisdoms with such simplicity and purity. The key players in this story have one thing in common, I guess, the ability to love. They may not always recognise it in the right place at the right time but it is there on all its levels. And we root for them all - for Laura and Eunice and Bomber and Freddy and all the dogs.

The narrative and the language flow easily and accessibly sprinkled with humour and darkness but it’s all beautifully balanced which I believe fuels this book’s strength. The structure of the book is unpretentious, the stories within the story sprinkled throughout in exactly the right places. The parallel storylines and how the ends are tied up are satisfying.

In case you hadn’t deduced thus far I thoroughly enjoyed this book! And I thank Hodder and Stoughton for a copy of this wonderful novel.

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