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Book Information: What Was Lost

What Was Lost (2007) [Novel]
by Catherine O'Flynn Rating: No votes (Rate!)
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Summary (From the publisher):

It is 1984, and 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, spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.

In 2003, Adrian's sister Lisa 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 Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, she becomes entranced by the little girl they keep glimpsing on the security cameras. As Kurt and Lisa's after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light.

Original title: What Was Lost
Original languages: English


Genre: FictionCrime and MysteryDetective Story and Detectives


  • Winner 2007 Costa First Novel Award
  • Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best First Book (Europe and South Asia)
  • Longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize
  • Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award
  • Longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize

Edition #1: What Was Lost

What Was Lost (2007)
Edition Details:

Language: English

  • "Partly a ghost story, partly a mystery, this tautly written novel captures both the charm and the ugliness of childhood. Inventive and humorous, O'Flynn saves her best lines for the more monstrous members of the retail trade." Independent
  • "I'm 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
  • "Tough and tender, witty and wise, this brilliant, compelling mystery rips the wrapping off 21st-century Britain, to expose haunting crimes in hidden lives." Helen Cross
  • "Beginning as a comedy about a pint-sized girl detective and a group of disaffected record shop employees before developing into something much more unsettling, Catherine O'Flynn's spooky debut has a unique charm." Matt Thorne
  • "An exceptional, polyphonic novel of urban disaffection, written with humour and pathos." The Guardian (UK)
  • "An enthralling tale of a little girl lost, wrapped in a portrait of a changing community over two decades. What binds it all together so impressively is O'Flynn's emotional articulacy, which captures life's sad, strange absurdities and glosses them with a kind of nobility." The Observer (UK)
  • "A superb, haunting novel from a new literary talent." Daily Mail (UK)
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Manifested in:

What Was Lost (2008)

Format: Paperback
Place of publication: Canada
Publisher: Anchor Books
ISBN: 9780385665896
Pages: 242

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