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Lost (Faber Plays) [Paperback]

Lucy Wadham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 May 2004 Faber Plays

A young widow, Alice Aron arrives on a Mediterranean island with her two young sons to visit her husband's birthplace. The place is sun-drenched and barren, its people poor, subdued by corruption, longing for independence that will not come, regarding everyone with suspicion and resentment. This is no island paradise. Within hours Alice's seven year old, Sam has disappeared. No-one admits to knowing anything. The authorities are inert and impotent, except for the unpopular detective Antoine Stuart, whose main drive to find the child seems to be his obsessive desire to nail the criminal Coco Santini, a man who is a model of violence and intimidation but against whom there is not a shred of evidence.

Rumours spread that The Movement, idealistic freedom fighters turned amoral racketeers, are responsible for the abduction; or maybe Italian gangsters. In a small place ruled by ancient enmities hiding a child can be dangerous. Someone will test a loyalty too far. Lost is a riveting, tense thriller peopled with unforgettable characters in a place that comes to life before us.


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Lost (Faber Plays) + Castro's Dream + Greater Love
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  • Castro's Dream 6.47
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (6 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571205518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571205516
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 642,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucy Wadham is a London-born novelist who has lived in France all her adult life and raised four children there. She started writing fiction as a teenager, mostly poems and short stories with a darkish bent. While reading English at Oxford University she, like many aspiring female writers, developed a fixation with Virginia Woolf and begun mooning about in long cardigans and sensible shoes. She had her first child at 21 and was pregnant with her second when she sat her final exams in 1987, after which she moved to France to be with her French husband.

Her first novel, 'Lost', published by Faber and Faber in 2000, was a thriller about a woman whose son is kidnapped while they are on holiday in Corsica. Highly acclaimed for its pace and passion, 'Lost' was nominated for the Golden Dagger crime fiction award and was twice optioned for the screen .

'Castro's Dream', another thriller, was inspired by her work as a freelance journalist investigating the Basque separatist movement, ETA. It tells the story of the love and rivalry between Astrid and Lola, two sisters whose involvement with the terrorist organisation catches up with them after twenty years when their friend and former lover, Mikel, is released from prison.

'Greater Love' "...Twins Aisha and Jose are brought up in Coelhoso, a remote hill-top village only just out of the Middle Ages. The product of a neglected childhood - their mother was raped - Jose never learns to speak, while Aisha, age 20, escapes to Paris. Jose eventually joins his sister, inauspiciously arriving in the city on September 11 2001. The two siblings carve out new lives: Aisha learning about sex and philosophy under the guidance of a Left Bank intellectual; Jose finding his voice with the help of a charismatic Muslim sheikh. At the heart of the ambitious literary saga lies Aisha's quest to understand her brother, and her own part in his final, catastrophic breakdown. Moving from Portugal to Paris, Morocco to California, Wadham manages to endow each chapter of Aisha's life - any section of which might have made a novel in itself - with a stark authenticity." (The Independent).

Her latest book and first work of non-fiction, 'The Secret Life of France', is a memoir of her marriage to a Frenchman and her discovery of a culture that has, over the past 20 years, baffled, appalled, charmed and conquered her.

She is currently working on a novel loosely based on her experience of growing up in a family of five powerful women.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Lucy Wadham's debut novel, Lost, begins simply, horribly enough. A young wealthy widow, Alice Ayron arrives on a Mediterranean island with her two small children. Within hours her oldest son, Sam, has gone missing, presumably kidnapped. The prose is acute and observational, full of light and precision, but the atmosphere is closed in, intense with emotional and physical claustrophobia. There is the island, lush with eucalyptus and heat, and there are the islanders, poor and insular, with a penchant for violence that was "no longer the simple language of grievance and revenge". There are the images of a small child being held captive: "Sam was there huddled, with fear ... like a curled fossil." And there is the mother's panic: "Each time she called his name, the knowledge of his absence seemed to deepen within her." The tension builds steadily as the morose and unpopular detective Antione Stuart begins his investigation. Like many of the characters he has lost his way, beset by the past, unequal to the future: "He would encounter memories like little pebbles in his shoes and he would have to stop and wearily bend down and retrieve the pebble and throw it away." Stuart believes Coco Santini, an island crime lord, to be responsible for the kidnapping and much of the other corruption that is part of the island's sub-culture. Lucy Wadham controls everything beautifully, giving the characters emotional resonance as the intricacies of the plot are worked through. It is a striking literary thriller, where the ache of love and loss and belonging are as important as the power play. --Eithne Farry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"'This excellent debut novel hints at the skill of past masters of the thriller genre such as Chandler and Leonard, both in its text and its texture.' The Times"

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Holiday Novel 4 May 2003
By Atticus
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The text of this book is bleached by the sun and encrusted with sand and sea water. And like any story of worth it is the contrasts that highlight the form of the narrative. We only know what we have when we have lost it, and the pure power of a parent's love for a child is most ably demonstrated when that child is gone. This book has been likened to Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard in it's style, but I don't think it really is ; it has a far more European feel to it and whilst it is dark and violent it does not have the nihilism of a dying empire to inspire it. I was thrilled by the tone the plot and the execution and highly recommend this - a good buy ; and good bye.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in admiration! 8 Jan 2013
By Elodie
Format:Paperback
In any brief review there is always a tendency to simply regurgitate the plot which is a temptation I shall attempt to resist. Attractive widow Alice revisits her late husband's island of Corsica. Within a day her seven-year-old son Sam is kidnapped and the whole story revolves around the attempt to rescue him. Although it is set in sunny Corsica, this is a dark and brooding thriller with far more shadow than light. I have never been there but I do know that Corsica has more than its fair share of gangsters, terrorists, bandits and blood feuds and this novel brilliantly reflects that reality. There is a sad and half-expected twist at the end. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the author is that if I hadn't spotted her name on the cover, I would really have thought that this taut, tense, rather macho thriller had been written by a man. There is no doubt whatsoever that Lucy Wadham is a born writer.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wadham Got Much Better 19 Nov 2013
By Kate Hopkins TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Lucy Wadham's first novel is set on an unnamed Mediterranean island (Corsica?) populated by ne'er-do-wells, gangsters and petty criminals. Alice Arons, the widow of a wealthy local industrialist, comes to the island with her two small sons to try to sell their house there. Within hours her older son Sam has been kidnapped, and Alice, in her desperation to get him back, enlists both the help of the local police and of the local Mafia boss, Claude 'Coco' Santini. But Santini is as slippery as an eel, and capable of double-crossing anyone - is she a fool to trust him? Meanwhile Antoine Stuart, the melancholy police officer in charge of the case, has fallen hard for Alice... will passion cloud his judgement and lead to recklessness?

As a story of suspense the novel works very well - Wadham keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen to Sam, if Coco will prove to have a heart, and who is really responsible for the kidnapping and all the other crimes on the island. The growing love between Antoine Stuart and Alice Arons is movingly portrayed, and Wadham gives a convincing and chilling portrayal of a society where criminals and crooks rule, and juggles her vast cast of characters very well. However, on an emotional level I didn't find this a satisfying read. The characters were on the whole very one-dimensional, there were way too many 'cardboard cutout villains', Coco Santini was exaggeratedly evil with no psychological motivation, and we never got to know much about Alice (why she'd married so young, whether she worked, whether she'd loved her husband, how she felt about being a widowed young mother). Only a very few characters - Stuart, Coco's wife Liliane and daughter Natalie - were developed in depth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars intensity and grit... 22 Dec 2003
By JunkyardMessiah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Overall, LOST is a very compelling, dark thriller with real, intense characters and a few unique plot twists. The dialogue is for adults, very hard edge, and utterly lacking in quick quips. Reminiscent of COPLAND, LOST gets involved in the gritty realities of small town (or in this case small island) politics, filled with long-standing jealousies that the author does a wonderful job of illuminating. The structure is tight, though menace could be added to two of the villains in order to heighten tension.
The premise-- that a beautiful widow's child is kidnapped by thugs on a Mediterranean isle, and only a scarred police chief, who is already embroiled in a life long battle with the island mafia, can help her-is so well- conceived and executed that even the seeming cliches seem fresh and new. There are two protagonists, Stuart and Alice, and each are deeply flawed individuals who must overcome their personal demons to find Alice's son. The progression of their romantic relationship is subtle and believable though ultimately tragic. On the whole, a great read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in admiration! 8 Jan 2013
By Elodie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In any brief review there is always a tendency to simply regurgitate the plot which is a temptation I shall attempt to resist. Attractive widow Alice revisits her late husband's island of Corsica. Within a day her seven-year-old son Sam is kidnapped and the whole story revolves around the attempt to rescue him. Although it is set in sunny Corsica, this is a dark and brooding thriller with far more shadow than light. I have never been there but I do know that Corsica has more than its fair share of gangsters, terrorists, bandits and blood feuds and this novel brilliantly reflects that reality. There is a sad and half-expected twist at the end. Perhaps the best compliment I can pay the author is that if I hadn't spotted her name on the cover, I would really have thought that this taut, tense, rather macho thriller had been written by a man. There is no doubt whatsoever that Lucy Wadham is a born writer.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Nuanced Thriller 7 Nov 2000
By douglas k ritter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was quite surprised that I was the first to review this title considering the favorable reviews it received in the mainstream press. (At least Ms. Wadham will have one review to read when she checks Amazon!) First, I enjoyed the book, although having grown up near Corsica, where this novel is set, adds a star to my review. The charcters are well drawn out, and the action well paced and realistic. The book is a subtle page turner that you will want to read in one sitting as it races to its conclusion. It details every parent's horror -- a child kidnapped by criminals -- in this case extremists. There is an earnest police detective and the usual assortment of village characters he deals with to solve the crime. But this isn't a detective novel. There are times when it's difficult to tell who in the book is "good or bad", but it doesn't detract from the tale. I was interested in the story because of the foreign locale and I wasn't disappointed.
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