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The Collector of Lost Things Paperback – 18 Apr 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (18 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408704188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408704189
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,026,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Stunningly good (Rose Tremain, for Salt)

Striking, funny, terrifying . . . I admired and loved it (Margaret Forster, for Salt)

A powerful new voice. (Independent)

Page writes with feeling and intimacy, his touch is poetic and sure. [The novel's] sense of the natural world is fine and compelling. A powerful vision. (Guardian)

Page's electrifying saga of family dysfunction glides from the bleakness of the Fens to the vast an ecstatic salt marshes of north Norfolk. You can smell every barn and barnacle. (Richard Mabey The Week)

Remarkably haunting, an atmosphere you can taste on the tongue. (Time Out)

A lyrical and elegiac novel about a real past and an imagined future. (Starred Kirkus Review)

Thrilling and memorable. (Los Angeles Times)

A poignant and heartbreaking novel enthusiastically recommended for all readers. (Library Journal)

Book Description

The first historical novel from this critically acclaimed writer, in which the characters are fuelled by obsession, passion and ghosts, The Collector of Lost Things is an extraordinarily compulsive read.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laetitia Rene on 19 April 2013
Format: Paperback
The Collector of Lost Things is a highly dramatic work that offers a far richer and more insightful account of its times and characters than what might be expected from `historical fiction'. What is perhaps most impressive is the author's blending of all of the novel's elements - the psychology, the historical, social, and natural forces. The descriptions of the sea- and ice-scapes are not merely well-painted but in fact highly evocative, and brilliantly used in creating specific moods and tensions as needed. Page also shows a mastery of both the natural history involved and the technical details of the ship, but never overdoes the details - he only ever gives you enough to show he has complete mastery of his material. In any case, his real concern is not historical or technical detail but psychology - what makes his characters tick. As the tension mounts and the narrative approaches its climax, the extreme situation in which they find themselves merely serves to bring out fundamental truths that they have been hiding from us, and from themselves. What I loved about this book is that in sailing into an unforgiving world, the main characters were not heading towards some drama waiting for them in the far north, but in fact bringing their own contradictions and past traumas with them, which the extreme situation of the novel's culmination merely force into the open. It is in then that we are shown what the characters truly value. In that culmination, Page recognises both cause for despair and for hope - the most selfish in man, and the most selfless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 April 2013
Format: Paperback
The Collector of Lost Things is a fascinating work on so many levels. The lovely evocative writing wonderfully and vividly depicts a historical adventure on a creaking ship on its way to the Arctic in 1849, the Amethyst carrying a naturalist, Eliot Saxby, on a foolhardy expedition to see if there are any remaining specimens of the extinct Great Auk to be found at the place where the last two birds of the species were killed - a remote outcrop of rock off the coast of Iceland called Eldey. There's enough there alone to justify the book's title, the adventure though the frozen lands and Saxby's hopes of finding at least some trace of the rare bird presenting some interesting thoughts on the nature of man to destroy everything that is beautiful in their destructive drive for commerce and profit.

Aside from the peculiar eccentric nature of the captain and his crew, the ship however is also carrying some other strange passengers who are undertaking the journey for their own interests. There's a young man called Bletchley who hopes to prove his manhood through a collection of rare trophies, his hunting contrasting evidently with Saxby's views on preservation of endangered species, but more significantly there is also a woman on board, Bletchley's cousin Clara, who Saxby believes he once knew back in Norfolk under a different name and in mysterious circumstances that he can't quite bring himself to recall.

There's a delightful element of gothic horror, mystery, romance and intrigue introduced into the work then that is wonderfully and suggestively evoked in the writing, but all the figures also contribute in one way or another to the conflict between man and his nature which is at the centre of the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page is loaded with so much mystery, peril and suspense that it feels like a gothic adventure and, unlike some historical novels, gives the impression it was written in its time.

The story, set in 1845, comes in waves. After peaks of action, it plunges deep into Eliot’s thoughts, as he swings between apprehension and excitement: “I closed my eyes and tried whispering its name. Arc-tic. It sounded remote and tremendous. A word filled with sharp edges. I imagined ice growing across the sea, inching towards the ship, how the walls of my cabin would become cold to touch.”

Although most of the time, the prose sails beautifully, sometimes it is tugged too deep into an ocean of inner monologue and detailed observations of nature. Having said this, I was swept along by many wonderful descriptions which are so vivid and laced with meaning. Weather, for example, is used to deliver omens and metaphors to portray Eliot’s mood: “The bases of the masts were as wide as barrels where they pierced the deck. I thought, peculiarly, of candles pushed into a cake.”

Eliot’s shipmates are introduced in short succession early in the novel. However, it feels natural and paced because it is done as they board or meet. Dialogue feels authentic, particularly that of one of the ship’s hands, whose incorrect grammar is delivered smoothly: “That is bell. You pull if you are in need of me"...

Read the full Literary Lightbox review at www.literarylightbox.com/collector-of-lost-things
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Format: Paperback
Saxby is a Naturalist who is hired to travel to the Arctic on a hunting boat to try to find trace of the seabird the Great Auk. This bird has been hunted to the point of extinction but there are rumours that a small colony may still survive.
There are tensions on board between the passengers and the crew and a woman on board complicates matters, especially when Saxby is sure he knows her.
We see in flashbacks throughout the book an incident between Saxby and the woman (at least he is under the impression he knows her whereas she denies it to him) that profoundly affected Saxby.
It’s an interesting set up and for sure there is a lot to recommend the book, it is a very well written and atmospheric tale of men at sea.
The book has a lot to say about man’s misuse of nature.
Almost every animal the ship comes across is killed, sometimes for the animal product, sometimes just for the fun of the crew.
The scenes of animal killing are written so graphically that I found myself speed reading them just to get through it.
The character of Saxby is also a strange one, while he is vehemently against all this killing, after witnessing so much destruction would he really accompany the crew on yet another hunt?
I guess he was the reader’s eyes and ears and the author had to hit us (and the Walrus) over the head yet again to show just how cruel man is.
Listen, I’m not denying that this cruelty took place and continues to do so and it’s the main theme of the book so how can the author not show animal slaughter, however there comes a stage where the point is made, just a pity the author did not know when this stage was.
All in all a very depressing (albeit well written) read.
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