Have you hugged your librarian yet today?
When I worked at my local public library, I had the pleasure of working with many well-informed and interesting people who did a lot of reading. (This is largely because I worked with other public service desk staff, who were invariably better read than individuals higher up the organization's food chain. But more on that another day.)
So when my co-worker posted a review of Catherine O'Flynn's debut novel What Was Lost at MadREADS and told me to read it, I took her seriously, even if it did take me a few months to get around to it.
It's a superlative novel. Kate Meaney, the kind of fictional ten-year-old kid that makes you dare to dream such real ten-year-olds exist, has a fledgling detective agency in 1980s Birmingham, Great Britain. She's also got a good friend, 22-year-old Adrian, who works in his father's shop in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, when Kate goes missing, Adrian is the last one to have seen her, and suspicion naturally falls on him.
Fast forward nearly twenty years, and the story turns to the actions of Kurt, a security guard at the mall where Kate often loitered, watching people, and Lisa, the younger sister of Adrian. They're leading normal enough lives of suburban and soulless work despair when Kurt changes both their lives by spotting what looks like a small lost girl on the mall's security cameras.
No quotes; the novel's more powerful in its entirety than in pieces. It's also completely sickening that it's O'Flynn's first novel: it's perfectly put together.
Katharine? If you're out there, thanks, hon. I owe you one. You are a librarian extraordinaire.