- Fizzy Thoughts: The Lost Hours

The Lost Hours

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the lost hours
The Lost Hours
Karen White
April 2009
343 pages

Publisher Comments:
The award-winning author of The Memory of Water delivers a gripping tale of family, fate, and forgiveness.

When Piper Mills was twelve, she helped her grandfather bury a box that belonged to her grandmother in the backyard. For twelve years, it remained untouched.

Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper’s dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather’s death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn’t exist - or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace, and a newspaper article from 1939 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace’s charms tell the story of three friends during the 1930s - each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.

Once again, I’m relying on people’s questions to jump start this post.

heatherlo asked: And for The Lost Hours, I personally don't read a lot of mysteries, but I found myself entranced with the mystery aspect of this book. What are your thoughts on the mystery part of the book? Did it keep you guessing and interested in the story, or not?

Personally, I didn’t find the mystery all that mysterious.  It definitely added to the story, but I had a pretty good idea of what had happened before all the questions were answered.  Sure there are details that are not uncovered until the very end, but I’m certain most readers will have a good grasp of what will be revealed.  However, I don’t think the mystery is at the heart of the story.  Rather, it’s the characters and the time periods.  As we journey back in time, the story deals with race, class and gender roles in the South during the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Piper’s grandmother and her friends confront each of these issues in various ways, resulting in tension…and yes, the mystery.  As we catch glimpses of their lives the mystery that Piper is investigating unfolds.  The synopsis doesn’t go into details about this aspect of the story, but for me, this is its strength. 

Joanne, everyone’s favorite Book Zombie, wants to know: This one sounds like an excellent read, but after seeing the mention of shattered Olympic dreams I was turned off. How much does this have to do with the main plot?

And this leads us to the present day setting of the book.  The whole shattered dreams thing isn’t a constant presence.  However, Piper’s attitude and fears are.  These are, of course, a result of the accident.  The focus is on Piper accepting her current life and learning to integrate her past with her present.  This is hard to explain…Piper isn’t so much boo-hooing her lost past as she is refusing to engage in her present.  Piper’s story is more about acceptance and resolution…it’s gentler and also has a hint of romance to it. 

So together, there’s a lot going on in this book.  But not an overwhelming lot. 

On the surface, it’s the genteel South.  But underneath, there are many dark layers.  And together, the stories of Piper and her grandmother result in a strong novel. 

7 comment(s):

Louise said...

I am with Book Zombie - the Olympic Dreams-thing would've turned me off immediately as well. But since you say its not that present in the book, I think it sounds like an intriguing read. And isn't the South about this: genteel on the outside, a bit depraved when you skratch the surface ;o)

bermudaonion said...

I'd like to try this book since it's set in the South - I love Southern literature.

Literate Housewife said...

I like how you had people ask questions about the books you need to review. This is a book I have on my shelf to read, too. It sounds like you like it well enough. I enjoy Southern Literature as well.

Veens said...

wow! sounds intriguing... :) :)

i like your new style of review!

bkclubcare said...

Of all the posts of yours that I just read (a few!) I have to say that this looks the most interesting to me right now. It's going on my tbr and I'm blaming you. :)

Joanne said...

That answered my question perfectly! It's not so much the actual olympic dream it's the associated feelings she needs to accept her situation - if I got that right then this looks like something I'll have to check out!

softdrink said...

If you're a fan of Southern lit, then yes, you all should read it!

It's also a good summer read, even though it's not all that beach-y. But it has a good pace, so it's easy to read.

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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