The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things

Infobox Book |
name = The Book of Lost Things

image_caption = Front Cover of Dust Jacket
author = John Connolly
cover_artist = Robert Ryan
country = United States
language = English
genre = Fiction
publisher = Atria Books
pub_date = November 2006
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages = 339 pp (hardcover edition)
isbn = ISBN 0743298853(hardcover edition)

"The Book of Lost Things" is a fiction novel by John Connolly. The book follows the story of young boy named David who struggles with his mother's death and father's remarriage. When a World War II bomber plane crashes into his garden, he ends up in the fantasy world of his books and must find the king in the hopes that he can return him to his home. The novel takes a different look at traditional fairy tales and follows every child's journey into adulthood.

Plot introduction

The story begins in London, England, during World War II. The main character, David, is introduced during his mother's slow death. His father remarries to a woman named Rose and the two have another child whom they name Georgie. While David tries to adapt to this new family situation, he begins to hear his books whispering to him and he often faints. He soon finds himself lured to another world hidden in a crack in the sunken garden of the family's new home. While exploring this new fantasy world, David has many adventures and lives out his own fairy tale.

Explanation of the novel's title

The title refers to a book that King Jonathan keeps which holds many things from "our world."

Plot summary

The novel begins by introducing David during the loss of his mother due to an illness. Approximately six months later, his father remarries a woman named Rose. David and his father move into Rose's grand house in the country. Rose tries to befriend David and even gives him her uncle's old room that has not been disturbed since his strange disappearance long ago. But after Rose gives birth to David's stepbrother Georgie, David begins to hear his books whisper to him and he begins having fainting spells.

When David is outside playing in the woods, he looks back towards his house and sees a mysterious figure in his room. His father helps him search the house, but all they find is a magpie which is released outside. The next day, Rose and David have a big fight and David longs to escape from his new surroundings. As he lays in bed that night, he hears his mother calling to him and he follows her voice outside to the sunken garden. While he explores the garden for his mother, he notices lights in the sky and realizes that a German bomber is falling straight towards the garden. With no where else to go, he climbs into a crack in the walls of the garden.

By climbing into the wall, David is somehow magically transported into a fantasy world where he meets the Woodsman. The two begin walking towards the Woodsman's home, but end up in a mad dash to safety from wolves and loups. After a brief show-down and entering the safety of the Woodsman's home, it is explained the there are certain wolves who have begun to transform partially into humans and are called loups. The first loup was named Leroi and under his leadership the wolves and loups have grown into large packs. But there is not enough food in the forest to feed them all, which is why they were trying to attack David.

After unsuccessfully trying to return to his world back through the portal, it is decided that the best thing for David to do is to seek out the king and his book of lost things. David and the Woodsman travel to the edge of the forest. As the two of the approach a canyon guarded by trolls and harpies, a large group of wolves and loups appear out of the forest and attempt to capture David. After figuring out the trolls' riddle, David is able to cross one of the two bridges over the canyon. However, the Woodsman remains on the bridge to keep the wolves at bay. While several wolves die on the other bridge from harpies or falling through rigged slats, the Woodsman is overcome and carried away. David then cuts the bridge's ropes, which keeps the wolves from crossing over to his side.

While wandering down a road, David runs upon seven dwarves who speak often of "rights and liberties" and "resisting oppression." The seven comrades (as the dwarves refer to one another) take David to their home where he meets Snow White. This Snow White, however, is anything but pleasant and charming. After being poisoned by the dwarves with a poison apple, the dwarves were sentenced to care for the demanding and cruel Snow White.

David spends the night with Snow White and the seven dwarves. He finds out that Snow White has almost eaten the dwarves out of house and home. However, he also learns that the dwarves are secretly mining diamonds, of which Snow White knows nothing. While parting, the dwarves ask that David send any eligible suitors their way so that they can pay them off to marry Snow White.

Continuing down the road, David wanders off the path to eat some apples. While up in the apple tree, he witnesses a hunter kill a deer. But the deer was no ordinary deer, she had the head of a young girl. The hunter finds David in the tree and takes him captive. Once in the hunter's house, he learns that this huntress (as the hunter is a woman) captures young children and animals to fuse their bodies together. She says that with the body of an animal, humans make a better sport of hunting for her.

While waiting to meet his fate, David comes up with a plan. When the huntress attempts to put David's head on a fox's body, he tells the huntress that she would be a better hunter if she were a centaur. She considers this and eventually agrees. She shows David how to cut off her torso and the horse's head and how to fuse them together using a special salve. However, when David cuts off her torso, he disarms her by cutting off her hand and running away. When he leaves her home, he finds that many of her experiments have wandered back and they begin attacking her while he escapes.

(to be updated later)

Characters in "The Book of Lost Things"

* David - The protagonist boy of twelve. He loves books and stories that are held within them. After his mother's death and father's remarriage, David is magically transported into another world and seeks out King Jonathan and his book of lost things.
* David's Mother - She dies at the beginning of the novel and serves as inspiration for David to enter into the "other world."
* David's Father - His wife (David's mother) dies at the beginning of the novel. Later, he marries Rose and they have another child named Georgie.
* Rose - David's stepmother. She was the director of the "not-so-hospital" in which David's mother died.
* Georgie - David's half-brother, son of Rose.
* Dr. Moberley - David's psychiatrist.
* The Crooked Man - The antagonist of the story. He seduces David into the other world and is both David's protector and enemy.
* Jonathan Tulvey - Rose's Uncle, the king of the other world.
* Anna - Jonathan's "adopted" sister.
* The Woodsman
* Leroi & the Loups - Loups came into being when a young woman wearing a red cape seduced a wolf. Their child was the first loup and now goes by the name Leroi. There are many wolves who have begun to transform into humans. Some have near human faces, walk on two legs, and wear human clothes. However, Leroi is the most advanced and the leader of all; his dream is to overthrow King Jonathan and take his place.
* Roland the Soldier
* Raphael
* The Harpies, based on Greek mythology
* Snow White and the Seven DwarvesTO(etc.)

Major themes

~thematic description, using the work of literary critics (i.e. scholars)~

Literary significance and reception

This novel was a break in tradition for author John Connolly. His other novels are of the thriller and crime genre. Graham Joyce of the "Washington Post" reviews this novel as a "distracting outing for the author" [ [ Washington Post by Graham Joyce] ] . Many critics had similar views of the novel as having both unrealistic conventions and disturbing elements. Most reviews do, however, comment that John Connolly's contribution to the field of fantasy is his adeptness at chilling descriptions of the fantastically wicked, particularly for the Crooked Man. While not well-received overall, the novel still offers readers a refreshing perspective of the fantasy genre.

List of Reviews

* [ by Norah Piehl]
* [ Knoxville, TN News by Karen Knotts]
* [ Washington Post by Graham Joyce]
* [ San Francisco Chronicle by Michael Berry]

References or Allusions

Most evident in this novel is the use of retelling of traditional fairy tales. Anything from Snow White to Rumpelstiltskin is fair game for the author. However, none of the tales are the same as when we last heard them. Snow White is now gluttonous and no longer charming; her dwarves attempting to get rid of her. Little Red Riding Hood is no longer an innocent girl visiting her grandmother, but a seductive temptress who gives birth to the first loup (wolf-human). And Rumpelstiltskin serves as the inspiration for the most despicable character - the Crooked Man.

References to actual history, geography and current science

This novel takes place during World War II. As such, there are many references to the war and its instigators. Throughout the book, various vehicles make appearances, such as the Ju88 bomber plan which crashes into the sunken garden and the tank that is attacked by the great monster.

Awards and nominations

Nominee: 2007 Irish Novel of the Year [ [ Irish Novel of the Year Nominees] ]

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

On July 11, 2007, RTE Entertainment reported that Irish director John Moore has received the rights to adapt the book to a film [ [ Film Adaptation Announcement] ]

The Book of Lost Things - under development by Irish director John Moore.

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Author's Website]
* [ Books in Print]
* [ Google Book Page]

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