Lost (Faber Plays) Paperback – 6 May 2004
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
"'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"See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›