Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Luster of Lost Things - Fiction Review

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller (Amazon)

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

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.


  1. I really like how this sounds, Katherine, and definitely want to pick it up. Hugs...

  2. New one for me. Thanks for the review.

  3. I am not sure I've ever read a magical realism book. But Sarah Addison Allen has been on my TBR. Also, I couldn't resist an overweight puppy either!

  4. This sounds like such an interesting book! I have Garden Spell literally sitting on my shelves, I just haven't managed to get around to reading it yet...

  5. I have seen this cover and was intrigued but you had me at magical realism. I LOVE that in books. Great review!

  6. I'm kind of intrigued by magical realism, because it seems like it could be very much in the background or more in the open, which is what this sounds like. It sounds really different and unique and the beautiful writing is very tempting . I just saw this book mentioned at LaLa's blog too ( I think it was hers)...

  7. Sounds like a beautiful and heart warming read.

  8. At first glance the cover made me think the book was for younger readers but I'm guessing that's not the case. It sounds really good.

  9. I have this one coming up very soon and I am a little more excited about it after reading your review. I love magical realism!

  10. i love the cover! I have a golden retriever and also happen to really enjoy dessert (it's one of the food groups, right?). I am looking forward to this book. Thanks for introducing me to it!

  11. I haven't heard too much about this book yet, but you've definitely whet my appetite for it. I don't think I can resist an overweight Golden Retriever either. :-) Thanks for your great review, Katherine!

  12. When I saw you mentioned this title previously I was keen to hear your thoughts on it - so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!