Title: Lost and Found
Author: Tom Winter
Publication date: 21 February 2013
Publisher: Corsair (Constable & Robinson)
Length: 314 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | The Book Depository
Rating: 4 / 5
In a nutshell
It started with a letter…
Carol is married to a man she doesn’t love and mother to a daughter she doesn’t understand. 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 with his cat, Gloria, for company. Slowly being pushed out at his place of work, he is forced down to the section of the post office where they sort undeliverable mail. When a series of letters turns up with a smiley face drawn in place of an address, he cannot help reading them.
Lost and Found has been among my most anticipated books of 2013 and I knew I’d have to read it the minute I saw the synopsis. I seem to have a soft spot for bitter-sweet and touching stories and it definitely seemed like one. A few chapters in, however, I realized it is in fact a bit different from what I expected – but not in a bad way. Not at all. I actually found it really hard to put it down and, had it not been for me being ill at the time, I would have probably read it in one day.
The reason why I was taken by surprise, I suppose, is that I expected some sort of a love story or a story of a beautiful friendship. A tear-jerker, basically. I mean, it sounds like one, doesn’t it? And while it is a sweet and occasionally moving book, I would have never predicted how funny it actually is. As odd as it may sound, for me most of the humour came from the protagonist, Carol, who’s been trapped in an unhappy marriage for most of her life and her husband, Bob. Man, they’re a hilarious duo. Bob is one of those guys who don’t have the faintest idea about the fact that their marriage isn’t working or in fact, hasn’t been working for a long time. He lives in denial. On top of that, he acts like a big kid. Which, under normal circumstances, would really annoy me. And of course it’s a sad situation too, isn’t it? Living your life in a monotone way and with someone you shouldn’t have married in the first place. Yet, through Carol’s sarcastic thoughts and comments, somehow it all became entertaining.
I think the main reason why it’s such an intriguing story is that no matter how simple the plot is, you get to know the characters really well and the more you know them, the more you want them to be happy and to find each other. Winter manages to make the story sound so believable and the characters so relatable that it’s impossible not to genuinely care about them. And that’s the beauty of it. Because let’s face it, the plot isn’t a complicated one. Yet, Albert’s storyline is so charming, so thought-provoking and Carol’s so funny that you simply can’t help but being drawn to their story and keep on reading.
The only thing that didn’t really work for me was the ending. Again, I was expecting something different but that’s my problem, not the writer’s. What I didn’t particularly like about the last few chapters was that they felt a bit rushed and vague, or at least compared to how detailed the other 95 percent of the story was. All in all, however, it’s a brilliant debut you don’t want to miss.
Read it if …
you’re looking for a quick but entertaining read. Especially if you like books with a bit of humour, sarcasm and a touch of emotion. And definitely read it if you like cats.
Favourite laugh-out-loud moment
“She suddenly realizes that Bob, the probable cancer patient, is standing in the hallway looking lost. She stops and tries to look concerned.
‘Will you be okay?’ As if I give a fuck.
‘Yeah,’ he replies forlornly. ‘I’ll be fine.’
She gives him a quick kiss on the forehead – as sexual as Florence Nightingale on a TB ward – and rushes from the house.”