Five ★★★★★ for this brilliant debut novel by West Australian author and bookseller Brooke Davis. This book has everything: unforgettable quirky characters, big issues, wise words and a cracking road-cum-train trip across the harsh Australian landscape.
At the heart of Lost and Found is seven-year-old Millie Bird who realises everything around her is dying. She starts a ‘Book Of Dead Things’ and included on that list is her father. When her mother abandons her three months later under the “Ginormous Women’s Underwear” rack in a department store, Millie begins to think that adults are careless.
Millie: Everyone knows everything about being born, and no one knows anything about being dead.
Enter Karl, the 87-year-old touch typist, who has recently escaped from a nursing home, and spends his days (and nights) lamenting the loss of his wife and wondering if has really lived. He craves adventure (and sex).
Karl: Karl wanted to feel again… He wanted to laugh loudly, to lean over his knees with it, to throw grapes at someone, to sit in a mud puddle, to yell things, any-things, it didn’t matter… He wanted to writer love letters to women, tons of them. He wanted to see some lesbians. He wanted to swear loudly. In public. He wanted an unattainable woman to break his heart.
Agatha Pantha (got to love that name) is a cranky widow who has been locked away from the world in her house for seven years and spends her days adhering to a rigid schedule and yelling profanities and abuse from her window as passers-by.
Agatha: She wears a bra that means business, one that you could probably attach to trucks to town them out of trouble if you were in a bind.
The story really kicks off when the three unlikely characters intersect and set off on a road trip in search of Millie’s mother. I always love a good road trip and this is no exception. The further they travel the more they realise that the world is not only filled with despair and loss but also hope and possibility.
Davis is a short-story writer and it shows in the economy but obvious care that has gone into her sentences. There are so many wonderful observations—happy and sad—that there are too many to mention here. This book is a joy and I would highly recommend it. Published by Hachette.