Like most of Mr Maguire's books, LOST suffers from overly flowery prose, a frenetic and rather unlikeable heroine, and hap-hazard skips through narratives. If the house Winnie is staying in is indeed haunted, it's certainly the most benign, boring haunting in literary history. There are a few interesting moments, but for the most part you're left amazed when you look up and realise how many pages you've turned without anything actually happening. Maguire is a niche writer with unique ideas that unfortunately fall flat when he puts pen to paper. 2.5 stars out of 5.
I truly felt lost while reading Lost by Gregory Maguire. This is the second book I've read by this author so I can say that I really don't care for his style of writing. Unfortunately, I have all his other books to read. Critics call his prose "rich" and maybe it is that but I find it confusing to point of sheer frustration sometimes.
There is a thoroughly unlikeable (to me anyway) "heroine" named Winifred Rudge. She writes children's books but would like to write one for adults with a heroine named Wendy Pritzke. She's become blocked and unable to write. She thinks if she goes to the old family homestead in Hampstead, Great Britain she'll be able to get a jump start. The family originally owned the whole house but it's since been turned into "flats" and sold off to other people. Only Winnie's cousin John still owns the top floor flat and she plans to stay with him.
This is good so far, I can understand it. The first mystery comes right in the beginning of the book when she attends a meeting for parents who want to adopt internationally. She says she is writing a book about that topic but later we learn she is lying. So why was she there? I like little mysteries like that. What I didn't like was the conversations between Winnie and the other characters. I felt like I was trying to follow a maze and that feeling continued throughout the book with her interactions with all the other characters.
When she arrives in England, she finds another mystery: her cousin has disappeared. Where did he go? Was he kidnapped, murdered? Is he in hiding? And what is that knocking noise behind the wall? There are repairmen there to do renovations in the flat but they are afraid of the knocking. Winnie takes it upon herself to go visiting all the neighbors to see if she can figure out if it's a ghost, a trapped cat or just what.
At first Winnie's behavior seems okay if a little odd. As she is running around offending the neighbors and trying to find her cousin or the ghost or the cat or whatever, she is imagining scenes in her mind from her adult book. Some of the questions begin to be answered about what is really going on. As they're answered, she's becoming weirder and weirder.
I was so ready for the book to end. I'm not even sure what really happened to Winnie during those last couple of chapters.
Reviewers say that the book is about loss and being lost. Yes, it is definitely that. If you like Gregory Maguire and you haven't read the book, go for it. Otherwise, it's not on my recommend-to-friends list.
I was a little lost (no pun intended) while reading this book. He seemed to jump around a lot, but maybe it was only me. In the end, I still enjoyed the story.
Kind of hard to summarize the theme without giving away the plot. I would have given this a higher rating, but it seems like it started out one way and then near the end veered off in a completely different direction, even though that's not really the case in hindsight. Often that sort of ending can be satisfying, as the loose ends tie up and you go "aha!". I didn't find that the case with this story though. It left me feeling tricked instead, like I was purposely misled, and not in a good way. Also, are people in England really this blunt with each other?
I must admit, I was somewhat disappointed in Lost. Maguire made a phenomenal debut with Wicked, turning our understanding of the fantasy-land of Oz on its ear. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was rewritten as a historical novel, debating on the concept of beauty. In both of these, Maguire kept to familiar framworks, and twisted them to show new facets.
In Lost, however, he seems to overreach himself. He includes elements of Dickens' Chrismas Carol, as well as stories about Jack the Ripper. For my part, the title of the book is appropriate, as the plot left me lost and foundering for my way.
I am a Gregory Maguire fan. As I wrote in other reviews, it usually takes me a few dozen pages until I get into the flow of whichever book that I am reading by him. Unfortunately, I never found that that place in Lost. Perhaps most disappointing was that the tie to Dickens and Scrooge is extremely loose. I wonder if he made it just to bring in readers who loved the concept of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Wicked. If so, he set us up for a disappontment.
The story itself is okay but I would have liked it better without going into it with such high expectations.
This is my least favorite Maguire book, but it is interesting to read as an analysis of his writing style. This book chronicles the haunting of an author as she deals with her personal ghosts. It was not bad, by any means, but it was not a compelling read like his other novels.
I'll agree with most reviewers that Lost is at the lower end of Maguire's writing quality scale. Despite an intriguing start, the story began to meander and I sometimes grew tired of Winifred, the protagonist. However, things really picked up in the last 1/4 or so of the book, with an electric jolt to the plot that I never saw coming.
Not one of Maguire's best...
A virtual literary paella of adult and children's fantasies: Jack the Ripper, A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Exorcist even a wafting glimpse of Dracula. The result is a deftly written, compulsively readable modern-day ghost story that easily elicits suspension of disbelief. American writer Winifred Rudge, whose mass market book about astrology has been far more successful than her fiction, is in London to research a novel linking Jack the Ripper to the house in Hampstead where her own great-great-grandfather rumored to be the model for Ebenezer Scrooge lived. But as Winifred discovers, there is no evidence that the Ripper ever visited Hampstead, let alone buried one of his victims inside the chimney of a house there, and his presence in the story is a red herring. Much more interesting is the mysterious disappearance of Winnie's cousin, John Comestor, the latest resident of the family house. Moreover, something is making an infernal racket inside the chimney, and soon there are other bizarre manifestations of some unseen force. A Dickensian assortment of neighbors (one dotty lady is called Mrs. Maddingly) variously obfuscate and hint at strange events. Maguire's prose is both jaunty and scary; he knows how to mix spooky ingredients with contemporary situations. By the time a spirit called Gervasa begins to speak through Winnie, readers will be hooked.
I found this book to be on par with the other Gregory Maguire's I've read so far, with the exception of Wicked. It takes WAY too long to get to the payoff of the story and when you get there you wonder why that part isn't as long as the rest of the book. Overall, I liked the gist of the story, but I can't say it was my favorite book.
This one was so WEIRD in comparison to the other Gregory Maguire books I've read. It seems really navel-gazing, and the reader has no idea really what is going on, nor why they should care. The main character isn't fleshed out enough to be sympathetic until the last third of the book, and that's only because extraneous people and details stop involving themselves, and the story gels around the protagonist and her quest. I was disappointed. It felt rushed, confused, and unpolished, as though the author threw a bunch of idea Post-Its at a wall and threaded together whatever happened to stick.
If you like tales of woe, legends and ghosts...this book is for you! This is a great and quick read! Wonderful reading for a cold spring night!!!!
Twists and turns abound in this story where nothing is as it seems. It's a fascinating weave of A Christmas Carol, Jack the Ripper lore, adoption, and love, both lost and gained. History comes crashing all around--personal, international, and fictional.
but a really good book.
Don't buy this expecting the usual Maguire revisionary accounts of other people's stories. Despite the look of the book, and the blurb, this one has very little indeed to do with Dickens' Christmas classic. Instead, it's a well written and fascinating account of one woman's descent into madness, with the supernatural elements being discretionary at best.
Like Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, this is a supernatural thriller without any real need of the supernatural element. The closest comparison may be to the Glenn Close character from Fatal Attractions, told from her point of view.
Even if (or maybe especially if) you didn't care for Wicked, if you enjoy a tightly plotted and well written thriller, Lost is sure to impress.
I enjkoyed some of Macguire's other books but I was dispaointed in thsi one. I found it rather disjointed.
Don't expect Wicked because this isn't anywhere near the same- you can eventually get drawn in to it but, overall, it's a very disjointed story within a story that jars at the reader.
This was my least favorite Maguire book. The plot was rather confusing and gave me a headache as I tried to follow the story, and I was ultimately disappointed with the ending. I was expecting a twist on the Christmas Carol, and instead got a bum deal.
This book was a slow read.. it was boring. So sad all his others are SO GOOD this so far has been his worse book yet :( I was really looking for something better.
This is a good book. I have enjoyed all of this author's books and this one puts a spin on several old classics like A Christmas Carol and then adds a little Jack the Ripper. I have read it several times and get a different impression of it everytime. I may want to swap back for it some day because it is a good story, but for now I want to spread the love!
I am a big fan of Maguire's and have read nearly all of his books, but was disappointed in this book. It just seemed to wrap up in too predictable of a manner and lost the element of surprise.
One of the better Gregory Maguire books, the dialogue is much less confusing than his other books.
I'm starting to get annoyed with myself for reading more Gregory Maguire. The hype for his books is amazing while his books are not. I just end up angry because I could have been reading something entertaining.
I have enjoyed Gregory Maguire's writing for a long time. I usually don't bag authors but this particular one did not meet up to Gregory Maguire's usual "the villian is a victim of circumstance" approach. Although the characters were very well written Lost should stay lost.
After reading "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister", I was disappointed with this novel. I found it somewhat confusing, and had expected a definite fairy tale connection which was never found. If it was a different kind of novel than "Wicked" or "Confessions..." that's fine, but I wish they hadn't put "Author of Wicked and Confessions..." on the front cover then, as I then expected this story to be 'the other side' of a fairy tale as those were. Yes, there are connections to Jack the Ripper and Scrooge, but not what you would think. I'm glad that some people found this book enjoyable, or at least wrote reviews that they did. I don't think I would read it again...
this was a good book, it took awhile to get into it (1/4 - 1/3 of the way thru). once i got there, i didn't want to put it down. the story is definitely NOT what i expected, nor what i think the blurbs about the book lead one to expect. i'm still very glad i read it, tho so far the only macquire novel i want in my keeper collection is wicked.
This was the first Maguire novel I read after Wicked and it's a good thing I read it after, or I never would have read Wicked. Could barely finish it, don't get trapped into this book!
I have to say I struggled with this one. I am a Maguire fan and I just couldnt sink my teeth into it the way I hoped I would. I adored Wicked. I was enamored with Confessions. I truly hoped to be as carried away with this one and its possible my hopes were set too high.
* I went back and 'tried, tried' again to read this book and I just gave up. I couldnt find anything even remotely likable in Winnie or her Wendy. In fact most of the characters were just a waste of space. I'm just so disappointed in this book. There were so many points that could have made the story great and he has such great 'lines' that are simply wasted and bogged down in this mess of a book. *
First, I love Gregory Maguire. He's an imaginative and unique writer. I've loved every book I've read that he's written. Somehow I missed this one, so looked for it here on PaperBack Swap. It was surprising all the way, like his books usually are. The twists and turns were all there. The characters so real, yet odd as well. While the story he is retelling is usually recognizable, this one had me perplexed. Was it A Christmas Carol? Was it the story of Jack the Ripper (is there another book about the story of Jack the Ripper?)? Or was it a ghost story with strong undertones of moral issues - abortion (hints, mind you), incest, adultery, lying, murder and more? I'm still not sure but it was a marvelous read. I highly recommend this and all Maguire's other writings.
The title of this novel is eerily accurate, for the average reader will certainly feel lost while navigating this text!
Normally, I am an avid reader and finish a novel in a single sitting. With this book, I found myself reading only a chapter or two before putting it down for several days. I was not invested in the plot or the characters, and honestly couldn't have cared less if I never finished. Only through shear force of will did I slog my way through this interminable book. I would not recommend this particular novel to fans of Gregory Maguire, as I feel it is not nearly so well-written as his earlier works.
I could not get through it. Gregory Maguire writes good twist on classical stories. I can not get through his books I started Wicked did not finish it but saw the play and loved the story. So I guess I will wait until this comes out in a play because I got lost in a story within a story. Good luck readers
Very strange journey. One I'm glad I took.
I found this a bit more spotty than some of Maguire's books, especially during the middle. But the end of the book was amazing; I never saw it coming. This was the audio version which was very well performed.
Although his writing can draw you out of the story at times, I did enjoy the story as a whole. His ideas are intriguing and makes your really wonder what his final idea was when writing the story. Is it really a ghost story? Is it just a journey of the main character, Winnie, through her grief and what has happened in her life? Perhaps it is both. Still makes you think.
Finally, a Gregorgy Maguire book I like!
I was excited about reading Gregory Maguire after watching the musical "Wicked." I had also heard good things from a co-worker who has read all of his books. When I asked her about "Lost" before reading it, she said it was different from the others. Unlike Wicked (The Wizard of Oz retold) and the stepsister book (Cinderella re-told), Lost is not a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Rather, the book is about a female writer who has made her living writing a horoscope type book, but is working on a piece of more serious fiction. The "Scrooge" relation comes about because the author/narrator is related to the person upon whom (at least in the story) the Scrooge character is based.
The novel is suspenseful and well written, but if you are looking for a re-telling of a classic tale from another perspective, try one of Maguire's other books.
I really liked this book. It took me a bit to get into this book, but I think that this was due more to the fact that I studied Dickens while in college.
This book was okay, compared to his other books.
This book was a BIG disappointment. There was absolutly no likable characters at all. Could not get into this book at all and found it horrably hard to finish. Bluh!!!
This Maguire book is definitely better than "Wicked". I don't know why more people didn't get giddy over this one. It's still not fabulous (I'm not a huge fan of his writing style), but it's not bad. It's an alternate storyline to the Ebenezer Scrooge tale.
While the book didn't grab me right away, I stuck with it and found it wasn't that bad. The story really picks up in the last 100 pages or so. I wish the author would have given certain information sooner than he did, but I understand his reasons for delaying. It wasn't a bad novel, but there were some things I found irritating. I didn't like the dialogue very much all told. It just didn't sound natural to me most of the time. Plus, by not telling the reader certain things, it makes it hard to get into the story. (Sorry for being so vague, but spoilers would be worse!)
This book was okay. Not as good as Wicked.
i liked this a bit more than wicked. much more modern, easier to follow.
I was LOST reading this book. Not one of his best works. Just as good as 'Mirror Mirror', which was horrible.
Not as good as some of Maguire's other books, but still interesting.
Nice ghost story/mystery.
by the author of Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepmother