This masterful, unusual debut takes a look at death from a child’s perspective. Millie Bird is seven when her father dies. She records his death in her Book of Dead Things. He is number 28 on the list.
Soon after her father’s death her mother packs her bags, gets in her car and goes, leaving Millie alone. From across the street 82-year-old Agatha Pantha watches as Millie enters her home alone. Agatha has not been out of the house since her husband’s death. She wades through unopened mail to get to her front door, only to post urgent bills that need paying in the hands of the postman through a letterbox. Weeds have grown up around her house and the neighbours slow their cars as they go past her home to look at the lonely lady whose world was shattered by the death of her husband. But Agatha’s attention is sparked by the lonely Millie Bird. Something in this little girl across the street inspires Agatha to take action.
Not too far from Agatha and Millie 87-year-old Karl the Touch Typist has been deposited by his son in a local nursing home. The love of his life has died and he has discovered life has lost its sheen without his beloved Evie. Looking around at his fellow nursing home residents he makes a decision to begin living life one more time. Leaving the nursing home behind he marches on to his next adventure.
These three lost souls, each one having suffered from the death of a loved one, find each other in strange circumstances. Together they discover there is hope in living life to its fullest potential.
Locked away in a home and a nursing home, Agatha and Karl break out of their regular monotonous lives to address the needs of a seven year old girl left behind by those closest to her.
Davis’s story is a heart warming tale with grief at its centre. She describes with poignancy the way grief can imprison, but holds a candle to the freedom that can come when grief is no longer allowed to override every facet of life.
Beautifully told, this is an extraordinary book. Lost and Found is out now.
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