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.