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The News Where You Are Paperback – 26 Dec 2010


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The News Where You Are + What Was Lost + Mr Lynch's Holiday
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141046368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141046365
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

Praise for "What Was Lost" "I am full of admiration for What Was Lost, which skewers our consumer society in all its absurdity and terrible sadness, while deftly interweaving a tender and heartbreaking personal narrative. A great debut novel from an awesomely talented writer."-- Jonathan Coe"What Was Lost is a terrific, wonderful book and I loved every page of it." -- Douglas Coupland"A superb, haunting novel."-- "Daily Mail "(UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Catherine O'Flynn was born in 1970 and raised in Birmingham, the youngest of six children. Her parents ran a sweet shop. She worked briefly in journalism, then at a series of shopping centres. She has also been a web editor, a postwoman and a mystery shopper.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 July 2010
Format: Paperback
I don't envy Catherine O'Flynn having to follow up the success of the brilliant Costa Award-winning What Was Lost and, while I didn't think this one was quite as good, I still really enjoyed it.

The central character is Frank Allcroft, a genial, middle-aged local TV news presenter whose cheesy one-liners have made him a cult figure amongst students. When we meet Frank he seems to be undergoing a minor mid-life crisis, examining the meaning of his existence and his role in various people's lives. He is particularly touched by the regular reports of people who die alone and lay undiscovered for several weeks (usually until the neighbours start complaining about the smell) and he embarks on a mission to make sure they're not forgotten by leaving flowers at their houses, helping to track down relatives and even attending their funerals.

Another central theme of the book is the regeneration of our towns and cities (in this case, Birmingham) and the tearing down of some of the Soviet-style 1960s architecture for which the city is famous, including most of the buildings designed by Frank's architect father. But, as Frank ponders, are the souless apartment blocks and model villages they're being replaced with any better?

Catherine O'Flynn has a wonderful ear for both mundane and surreal dialogue (reminiscent at times of Jonathan Coe and Magnus Mills) and this book is shot through with touches of humour and pathos. I fear it might not be fast moving or action packed enough for some people, but if you enjoyed What Was Lost you'll know what to expect and I hope you won't be disappointed.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 July 2010
Format: Paperback
A beautiful book. O'Flynn follows up the themes of her earlier What Was Lost - memory, loss, forgetting - in this story which centres on Frank, a (relatively) contented presenter on a regional news programme in the Midlands.

As he covers the same stories year after year, Frank struggles to keep alive something of his father, once Birmingham's favourite architect but whose buildings are now out of fashion and being torn down as he destroyed their Victorian predecessors.. People can only see what's on the outside - a perception shared by Phil, a former presenter on the programme, who went on to greater things but is afraid time has caught up with him.

These themes are brought together when Phil dies in a hit and run accident, and his old National Service friend, Michael, sitting on a park bench. Dipping back into the past and exploring Frank's relationship with his mother, who seemingly lives to be miserable, and Phil and Michael's past, "The News Where You Are" looks at erasure of the past - of buildings, memories, people, former lives - as both a creative and destructive force, and at memory as the counterpart to erasure. Frank's daughter Mo - who contributed some of the lighter moments in what is at times a very funny book - wants to be preserved as a fossil. Better, says, Frank, to become dust.

Of all the characters in this book - the frightened star, the desperate joke-writer, Frank's driven father - the central one is the city of Birmingham, whose constant drive to erase, recreate and forget itself acts as a metaphor for all the rest. Not a great deal actually happens, at least not on the surface, but you need, as Frank is aware, to look beyond the surface.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
Having thoroughly enjoyed What Was Lost, Catherine O'Flynn's award winning debut novel, I was really looking forward to this, her latest offering. Again it's a very British book, focussed on urban life in all its monochrome dullness but does it escape the curse of the second novel?

Our anti-hero of sorts is Frank Allcroft, presenter on a regional TV news programme. Frank seems quite accepting of his rather dull job presenting rather dull stories to an indifferent public. Ironically it is his "dullness" and cringeworthy jokes which gain him cult status amongst students - I've never quite understood the attraction of cheesey daytime shows but there's no accounting for taste!

It's possible that some sort of mid-life crisis has triggered Frank's desire to recapture the past, rescue the memories of those who die alone, leaving flowers on the doorsteps of the deceased, attending the funerals of those without relatives or friends. This theme of loss and fruitless efforts to hang on to the past is echoed in the demolition of the buildings which Frank's architect father designed in Birmingham in the 60s - nothing lasts yet we still strive to cling onto the past.

Frank's predecessor, Phil, who has gone to carve a successful career on national tv, tries to avoid the perils of the aging process - permatan, cosmetic surgery - the facade is key. Frank, in his own humdrum way, tries to prove that what lies underneath is more important but with the urban landscape constantly regenerating, female tv presenters discarded at the first inkling of wrinkling, he has a battle on his hands.

Catherine O'Flynn demonstrates once more what a fabulously talented writer she is, imbuing the mundane with emotion and intensity. It's a slow-paced, profound novel, perhaps not as striking as What Was Lost but still a very rewarding read.
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