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How To Be Lost: A Novel [Paperback]

Amanda Eyre Ward
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2006

To their neighbours in suburban Holt, New York, the Winters family has it all: a grand home, a trio of radiant daughters and a sense of security in their affluent corner of America.But when five-year-old Ellie disappears, the fault lines within the Winters family are exposed.

Fifteen years later, Caroline, now a New Orleans cocktail waitress, sees a photograph of a woman in People Magazine. Convinced that it is Ellie all grown up, Caroline embarks on a search for her missing sister. As she travels through the New Mexico desert, the mountains of Colorado, and the smoky underworld of Montana, she devotes herself to salvaging her broken family.

How To Be Lost is a spellbinding novel about sisters, family secrets - and love.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099471272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099471271
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 745,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'I read Amanda Eyre Ward's lovely How To Be Lost after a warm recommendation from a has that lovely tone that only American women writers seem to be able to achieve: melancholic, wry, apparently (but only apparently) artless, perched on the balls of its feet and ready to jump either towards humour or heartbreak, with no run-up and no effort. How To Be Lost has a great setup, too.' Nick Hornby"

"'The narrative is so engrossing, so propelling, you're surprised to come upon the last page...a damn good story.'" (Time Out New York)

"'A walloping knockout of a finisher that would seem like a cheap trick if it weren't so thrilling. The author plays a smooth game, not showing her hand until the absolute right time.'" (Kirkus)

"'This is one of those sink-your-teeth-into-it novels that reminds you why you loved to read in the first place.'" (The Charlotte Observer)

Book Description

' has that lovely tone that only American women writers seem to be able to achieve' Nick Hornby

[How to Be Lost] invites comparison to The Lovely Bones.' People Magazine

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY EXCITING PAGETURNER!!! 30 Aug 2006
By Heather Negahdar VINE VOICE
"Mom it can't really be her," I said though my heart was hammering in my chest.

"But what if it is?"

I shook my head and stared at the picture. The girl looked like me, like Madeline. She looked like my mother."

This was indeed a page turner with many exciting characters. We meet the Winter family in this book; the children about to make an escape from their parents whom, they decided were treating them with indifference and taking them for granted.

They plotted from the day before, and were set to meet after school, but when meeting time came, the smallest sister Ellie did not turn up as expected.

From that time onwards, things go topsy turvy in the Winter family as Caroline and Madeline and their parents look for answers to what could had become of Ellie on this day.

Daughter Caroline, refuses to give up her search, especially when she sees a photograph in a People magazine of someone resembling what her sister would look like at twenty years. She travels far and wide to unravel this mystery, but towards the end the mystery is solved. Get the answers in this exciting drama.

Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar (SUGAR-CANE 30/08/06)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and insightful analysis of family bonds 27 July 2006
Please don't be fooled by the beautiful and moody woman on the cover of this book. "How To Be Lost" is not just chick-lit. In fact, 'upbeat' would be the last word I'd use to describe this book. This is a book about loss, the different kinds of tragedy and picking up the pieces after your life has been torn apart.

The story is made up of three strands: Caroline's search for her lost sister, who went missing nearly thirty years ago; the diary entries of Agnes Fowler, a sheltered young woman living in the MidWest and rediscovering herself after her father's death; and the story of a man named Bertrand, who was engaged to Caroline's mother. It is a mark of Amanda Eyre Ward's writing that you have no idea how these stories are connected until she wants you to know. She writes with sensitivity and an eye for how family relationships can warp and sustain you at the same time. Best of all, she manages to give an ending that is both open and hopeful. Fans of Melissa Bank will like Caroline's wry voice as she catalogues her failures and her quest to finally resolve the mystery which has haunted her family for years. There is never any self-pity, only honesty.

This book is not a beach read; it is more autumnal, but don't let that put you off buying it now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read 24 Mar 2006
This is a most fantastic book. At times scary, at times funny, at times comforting, at times unnerving. This easy to read story is one full of twists and turns that is impossible to put down. Even when you find it too scary to continue, you have to keep going purely because you just have to know what happens.
Get it today if not sooner!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thin plot - bland and predictable 22 Dec 2007
By J
I bought this book to recommend to my book club, because of the high ratings that it received. I was disappointed! The book is just OK, I found it bland, lacking excitement and the plot was thin and predictable in places. In its favour, it was an easy and quick read, which did not tax the brain too much. I did not hate the book, I just found it dull
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "All I knew was how to be lost" 24 May 2005
By A Customer
The family in Amanda Eyre Ward's new novel seems to exist in a world of stasis, unable to move on. Haunted by the disappearance of their youngest daughter when she was a little girl, the Winters exist in a self-enclosed in a world of grief and loss, both parents seeking solace in alcohol, with the mother forever refusing to officially identify the girl as dead. The two remaining daughters have grown older, disillusioned and disaffected, but the family continues to remain preoccupied with the thought, "what if their youngest little girl is alive?"
It all happened one afternoon fifteen years ago: Ellie became obsessed with wanting to runaway, in part to escape the fatherly abuse, but also for the thrill of the adventure. When Caroline, the oldest and the novel's narrator, receives her driver's license, the three girls decide to abscond New Orleans. But unhappily, the girls' plan must be aborted because five-year-old Ellie doesn't return from elementary school the afternoon they plan to flee.
Fifteen years later, Caroline has escaped to New Orleans, where she's living an aimless life, absorbed in her job as a cocktail waitress and spending her spare time drinking and partying. Distancing herself from her family, she's reluctant to go back to suburban Holt, New York even though her sister Madeline, now married and upwardly mobile, constantly asks her to; family reunions are a chore, with Christmases being the worst. So Caroline spends her days waiting and drifting, thinking about her mother's false cheer, her father's bloody death, and Madeline, always "looking towards her for hope."
Each blames the other for Ellie's disappearance, but it is their mother who is finding it hardest to cope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing 7 Mar 2010
I found this book a little disappointing. It is extremely short and did not benefit from this - it felt like the author could have done a lot more with story and taken the themes a lot deeper. The idea that the lead character had essentially run away from the difficulties surrounding the disappearance of her sister was a good starting point, but the depth that this sort of premise required was not really matched within the book itself.

I did enjoy reading the book and felt that the story told was a good one, it progressed interestingly and the suspense side of the story - around actually finding out what had happened to the sister - was particularly strong. However, I do think that the author could have taken this a little further and explored the issues presented more deeply, which is more what I expected from the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're a sister, read this.
My sister and I and everyone we've recommended How To Be Lost to has loved it.
It's a beautifully written story about 3 sisters and their journey. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nina
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome book, enthralling yet melancholy and I highly recommend it
I found this in a charity shop and would rarely come on Amazon to review it were it not for the fact I found it so different. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping read
Found this book in a house I was staying on holiday. I was scouring the shelves as I'd read all the books I had brought. I LOVED this book and have recommended it to friends. Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2010 by Rebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific
I really enjoyed this book. It combines good sharp writing with an interesting suspense story that kept me reading eagerly to the end. I finished it wanting more. Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2009 by Phil O'Sofa
4.0 out of 5 stars Something different and keeps you wanting more
You get caught up in this book from the start, it is poignant and you can empthasise with the characters. Read more
Published on 18 May 2009 by Campbell79
4.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put this down, I wanted to see Caroline's search through to...
I couldn't turn off my light last night until I finished How to be Lost. I had followed Caroline's erratic and sad life through each chapter and I was eagerly waiting to figure out... Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2009 by EH Heskin
4.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner
It's been a while since I read a novel which has made me not want to put the book down so all credit to Ms Ward for her work. Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2008 by KP
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll get lost in the pages of this book!!
Amanda Eyre Ward is one of the most talented writers i have ever come across. How to be lost is a fantastic second novel and tells the story of Caroline. Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2007 by Philip Trenfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
I read quite a bit and this is one of the best books I have read in the last three years or so - a page turner but so much more. Read more
Published on 9 April 2007 by Mr. G. H. Hitchen
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner
Got this book this morning and have just finished reading it, I just could not put it down. I was so engaged by the story that I didn't even notice I was nearing the end of the... Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2006 by Miss Sunshine
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