What Was Lost

What Was Lost

A Novel

Book - 2008
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A tender and sharply observant debut novel about a missing young girl--winner of the Costa First Novel Award and long-listed for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and The Guardian First Book Award

In the 1980s, Kate Meaney--"Top Secret" notebook and toy monkey in tow--is hard at work as a junior detective. Busy trailing "suspects" and carefully observing everything around her at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping mall, she forms an unlikely friendship with Adrian, the son of a local shopkeeper. But when this curious, independent-spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.

Then, in 2003, Adrian's sister Lisa--stuck in a dead-end relationship--is working as a manager at Your Music, a discount record store. Every day she tears her hair out at the outrageous behavior of her customers and colleagues. But along with a security guard, Kurt, she becomes entranced by the little girl glimpsed on the mall's surveillance cameras. As their after-hours friendship intensifies, Lisa and Kurt investigate how these sightings might be connected to the unsettling history of Green Oaks itself. Written with warmth and wit, What Was Lost is a haunting debut from an incredible new talent.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2008, c2007.
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780805088335
Branch Call Number: O'FLYNN
Characteristics: 246 pages ; 21 cm.


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WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

Ever stop in the middle of a shopping mall and wonder what ever came before? As in, what did people do before, on that land, in their spare time, and what else was coveted before easily found consumer goods? Set in suburban Britain, this is a fictional meditation on family, memory, consumerism in the format of a murder mystery and love story. All tied up with a bow.

Jun 23, 2013

I found What Was Lost both a charming and spooky read, with a unique storyline that is made up of both the mystery and ghost story as well as a social commentary on consumerism and the dehumanising effects of these giant shipping malls. This was a different read from a very talented writer and I can’t wait to see what she produces next.

Jan 20, 2013

A truly engrossing read. The writer is very talented.

Sep 09, 2012

I am not quite agree with "hatred" of the shopping malls, but it seems to be justified by personal experience, not at all good, of the author. The book is very good. It's very touching. And tragic. With the bitter humor. It's about child vulnerability, about underestimation of children and adolescents by adults.

May 06, 2011

A really enjoyable read. I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Dec 05, 2009

Part mystery, part ghost story and part social commentary on consumerism - this book simply left me feeling sad. The main character Kate is painted as a very charming 10-year old amateur detective in the first part of the story and then from then on both her life and society as a whole goes down the tube. Booker longlisted in 2007. I will look for this author's next work.

jenniferria Sep 13, 2009

Catherine O’Flynn does a wonderful job of exploring a multitude of social and psychological issues, making this book rich in plot and character development. The most prominent issue is the effect of loss and loneliness however, the book is not all sad. The satiric depiction of life in a dead-end job, most specifically work in retail, provides very realistic and often hilarious out-takes.

lilmisslibrary Jul 14, 2009

This is a book about a young girl who goes missing at a shopping mall and the events that unravel to unveil her killer. It is a bit of a spooky tale, I found it to be a little slow at times, but overall a great debut novel. It has a bit of a Lovely Bones feel to it…

Jul 13, 2008

People magazine gave this 4 out of 4 stars. It won the 2007 British Costa Award for best 1st novel.


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