The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller (Amazon)
Rating: Very Good
Description: Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.
But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.
So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.
Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.
Genre: Fiction - Magical Realism
Why I Picked This Book: I just read Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spell and really wanted more magical realism. Plus this one has a dessert shop and an overweight golden retriever. How could I resist?
My Impression: One of the words in the publisher's pitch for this book was gorgeous and as I was reading it that word was continuously in my mind. This book isn't set in a particularly grand location, there are no mentions of glorious clothing or other items but all the same that word describes this book perfectly. The writing is so golden and beautiful that I found myself savoring this book - reading only a few chapters at a time.- not because I was bored but because I didn't want to reach the end too quickly.
I loved Walter. He's distinctly a child but at the same time far more perceptive and thoughtful than most adults. His difficulty with speech makes him more observant and more aware of the world around him but doesn't define his identity. He's intrigued by the puzzle of finding things and always hoping that somewhere, somehow he'll find find a clue or some tiny link that will show him where his father is.
The magical realism is a little heavier here than in the books I've read by Sarah Addison Allen (my experience with magical realism is very limited) but at no time does it feel like a way to move the plot along. Instead it adds to the magic of the book. The desserts his mother makes dance and come to life, Walter sees tiny golden or silver strings that help him discover where lost things are and that helps him interact with the people around him.
This book is beautifully written with wonderful characters that pulled at my heart. It's unlike anything I've read before.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes! I will be on the lookout for future books by this author.
Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely! This was a wonderful read and I'd definitely recommend it.