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Lost & Found

A Novel

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Description

An irresistible debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens when no one else is looking

Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns.

Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silence by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule.

Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam.

Brought together at a fateful moment, the three embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mother. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again; Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.

Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 12, 2015 – This novel by Australian travel writer and first-time novelist Davis attempts to use whimsy as a delivery mechanism for a meditation on loss and loneliness among the very young and very old. Seven-year-old Millie Bird is obsessed with death, inscribing her encounters with dead things in a "Book of Dead Things." Entry twenty-eight is "MY DAD." As a result of losing her husband and Millie's father, it's not long before Millie's unstable mother drops her at a Perth department store by the "Ginormous Women's Underwear" section and never returns. Millie spends a couple of nights hiding out in the store, seemingly undetected by anyone except a mannequin she treats as a companion and an old man she approaches in the store's caf who identifies himself as "Karl the Touch Typist." Karl is battling his own grief after the loss of his wife. Finally caught by store security, Millie, with Karl's help, escapes authorities and makes her way home, where an elderly neighbor, Agatha Pantha, an unpleasant shut-in following her husband's death, somehow decides it would be better to accompany Millie to find her mother in Melbourne than to call the police. Karl catches up with them and the unlikely trio travels across Australia. Ultimately, this journey toward understanding and accepting death is too predictable, offering little aside from the quirks of its characters.

Customer Reviews

engaging, unique and utterly original – a wonderful debut novel.

A debut novel from this Australian writer, Lost and Found is full of quirky characters, heart-warming scenes, and a clever pairing of an elderly man and young girl seeking their own answers to long-held questions about the meaning of life.

Millie is adorable, a seven year old girl whose mother has abandoned her, for reasons unclear, and her ever-curious nature and hopeful belief that the next corner will uncover her missing mother. Agatha has retreated from the world, finding much comfort in her past memories and routines: afraid to face the changes that time has wrought. And lastly there is Karl: on the lam from a care home, his gentle nature hides a desire to adventure and appear to the rest of the world as the ‘heroic and masculine specimen’ he felt he was in his late wife’s eyes.

While the story has a sort of ‘fantastical’ feel to it, there are serious issues being dealt with: grief, loss, abandonment and death. Far from being maudlin despite the topic and trials of Millie, Agatha and Karl, the story is imbued with that child-like view tinged with hope and heart that will be sure to please many. Davis delves into Millie’s character, giving her that child-like sense of curiosity and joy, despite the overlay of sadness that is never far from her reach. Pairing Millie with Agatha to aid in the search for her Mum, and then bringing Karl into the story presents a clear juxtaposition from Senior to Child, and the learning that all characters experience from their conversations and revelations.

From humorous touches through truly heartbreaking moments, Davis carries the reader on a journey that is engaging, unique and utterly original – a wonderful debut novel.

I received an eBook copy of the title through Penguin’s First to Read. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Lost & Found
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Family
  • Published: Jan 22, 2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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