It started with a letter…Carol is unhappily married to a man she doesn’t love and mother to a daughter she doesn’t understand. Stuck in a life she doesn’t want and crippled with guilt, she can’t shake the feeling that she has wasted her life. So she puts pen to paper and writes a Letter to the Universe.
Albert is a widowed postman, approaching retirement age, and living only with his cat, Gloria, for company. Slowly being pushed out at his place of work, he is forced down to the post room where they sort undeliverable mail. Forgotten in his work place and bullied by his neighbours, Albert is extremely lonely. When a series of letters turns up with a smiley face drawn in place of an address, he cannot help reading them.
A few months ago I read a review copy of a debut novel which I enjoyed enormously. Lost and Found by Tom winter came out in February. Today the paperback edition is published and the lovely people at Corsair contacted me with a view to offering 3 copies to readers of my blog.
Carol wants a disease. Nothing deadly, and nothing crippling. She doesn’t aspire to disabled parking, for instance, despite its obvious advantages.
‘It’s true I haven’t done much with my life,’ she wants to tell people, ‘but it’s the . . . the leprosy.’
She imagines how they would nod sympathetically, albeit while backing away, and even she might feel better about looking at herself in the mirror each morning: a middle- aged woman who hasn’t accomplished much because she can’t, because she’s been too busy peeling off dead skin and looking for missing body parts.
‘Yes,’ she’d say, as she arrives at work late yet again, ‘I know I’m crap at this, but the good news is I’ve found a couple of my fingers.’
But, no, there is no disease, no excuse to hide behind. She has a husband who’s a certifiable dickhead, but this isn’t her disability per se. And her daughter – well, what can she say
on that subject? In the months prior to giving birth, she read
every book on child-rearing she could find. In retrospect, Sun Tzu’s Art of War would have been a better choice, or perhaps a field study of rabid primates.
Naturally, this isn’t how she’d expected to feel about motherhood, but watching her baby daughter morph into a teenager has been an alarming experience, like cresting the first hill of a rollercoaster just as she realized her seatbelt was broken.
Now seventeen, her daughter stands on the cusp of independence, the whole world at her feet. And Carol is on a bus home, staring at a window too wet with rain to offer a view of anything; an indeterminate cityscape, as fractured and abstract as her own life – the hint of a street sign, the edge of a shop front, but nothing complete, nothing she can look at and say, ‘Ah, that’s where I am.’
So, nearly twenty years of married life have come to this:
She savours the words for a moment, already regretting that she’ll only get to say them once. Condensing so many years of frustration into two small words has given them a curious, almost nuclear power, as if they might slip from her mouth and accidentally level the whole of London.
She knows she’ll tell her husband over dinner tonight, though she still isn’t sure how she’ll raise the subject. The only certainty is that she’ll serve a nicer dessert than usual – her favourite, as it happens – though she’ll try her best to make
this seem like an act of consolation rather than celebration.
Lost and Found is a novel written in letters, the voices of the two main characters come across strongly and are really engaging and likeable. I found the novel hugely enjoyable – a real feel good book that I found hard to put down, I feel sure that many of you out there would enjoy it too. i am certainly looking forward to seeing what Tom Winter comes up with next.
PRAISE FOR LOST AND FOUND:
‘Witty, off-beat and moving’ Genevieve Fox, Daily Mail
‘Winter makes the reader not only smile, but pause and, in the final line, shed an appropriate tear about what it means to be given a second chance at happiness’ The Lady
‘A touching tale, full of pathos and laugh-out-loud moments’ Candis
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tom Winter is a British writer living in Berlin. Lost and Found is his first novel. He is currently at work on his second book.
If you would like to win a copy of this lovely feel good read – then please add a comment to the box below leaving me an email address where I can contact you should you win. I will keep the giveaway open untill Sunday evening – and then choose three winners by a random name generator. I will pass the winners details to Corsair who will then send out the books. Good luck everyone.
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