- Fizzy Thoughts: The Secret of Lost Things

The Secret of Lost Things

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Secret of Lost Things
Sheridan Hay
2007
349 pages

This book had a very melancholy feel to it. Maybe that has to do with where I read it (alone in a cottage in Savannah), but it did affect my overall feeling about the book. Which would be eh.

The narrator, Rosemary, loses her mom on her 18th birthday. Adrift, her friend Chaps buys her a one way ticket to New York. In New York, Rosemary soon finds work at the Arcade, a used bookstore. The bookstore is staffed with weird and creepy characters:
  • Mr. Pike - the owner, who is paranoid about theft
  • Walter Geist - his assistant, an albino who creeps most everyone out
  • Albert - in charge of the art section, which is convenient as he likes to entertain himself with pictures of nude men
  • Oscar - Rosemary's unrequited crush, who likes to research and keep track of things in his notebooks
  • Mr. Mitchell - Rosemary's father figure
  • Pearl - currently a man, but soon to have a sex change operation
  • and Lillian - Lillian doesn't work at the Arcade, but at Martha Washington, the hotel Rosemary first stayed at.
The Arcade is full of petty jealousies and in-fighting. When a rumor surfaces that there is a lost Herman Melville manuscript available, everyone's greed surfaces and things fall apart at the Arcade.

Normally, I'm all over books about books. But I found this one to be a bit slow moving. And, as previously mentioned, melancholy. Maybe it's the characters...I like quirky, but these people were more off than quirky, if you know what I mean. So, not a bad read, but certainly not a favorite. I left it behind in Savannah for someone else to find and read.

2 comment(s):

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mariel said...

I borrowed this book from my local library because I love books about books. Unfortunately I only got a few chapters in before having to give it back as I was being send overseas. I did wonder where the book was going though, as the pace was very slow. I'm all for quirky, but would perhaps have hoped for less melancholy and more hope!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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