This exuberant fantasy is finely crafted, filled with humor and very moving.


A daughter caring for her terminally ill mother must find her way out of an unusual desert town in Durst’s debut novel for adults.

Lauren Chase is resigned to a boring office job while she supports her mother, who is recovering from cancer, after abandoning her dreams of becoming an artist. When her mother relapses, Lauren hits the road to avoid hearing the prognosis. The suspense builds as she loses her wireless signal and is stranded in the aptly named town of Lost: a purgatory for lost souls, some living and some dead, who scavenge through a humorous catalog of lost items—ranging from mismatched socks to wasted water—to find the missing item they need to move on. Similar to the Nothing that destroys Fantasiana in Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Lost is surrounded by a roving dust storm that consumes anyone who dares enter it with the wrong attitude. After she's plucked from the dust by the Finder—a tattooed, supernatural being named Peter whom she develops a crush on—Lauren learns that the only way to return to the real world is to talk to a mysterious figure called the Missing Man. Unfortunately, the Missing Man takes one look at Lauren and runs away, forcing her into hiding—along with Peter and an abandoned child named Claire—with an angry mob in close pursuit. Her subsequent attempts to repel the villagers with booby traps bring levity to a grim situation. While she scavenges for clothing and food, Lauren rediscovers her forgotten interests, like her love for art and for the ocean, as she finds the courage to face her mother’s impending death. Adding to the tension is the fact that Peter doesn’t want Lauren to leave, and the longer she stays in town, the more attached she is to her new friends. Readers may be similarly torn between an appropriate ending for Lauren (returning home to deal with her mother) and the alternative (staying in Lost with Peter and Claire). Fortunately, the author will continue to explore the world of Lost in a sequel.

This exuberant fantasy is finely crafted, filled with humor and very moving.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7783-1711-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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This is good Hemingway. It has some of the tenderness of A Farewell to Arms and some of its amazing power to make one feel inside the picture of a nation at war, of the people experiencing war shorn of its glamor, of the emotions that the effects of war — rather than war itself — arouse. But in style and tempo and impact, there is greater resemblance to The Sun Also Rises. Implicit in the characters and the story is the whole tragic lesson of Spain's Civil War, proving ground for today's holocaust, and carrying in its small compass, the contradictions, the human frailties, the heroism and idealism and shortcomings. In retrospect the thread of the story itself is slight. Three days, during which time a young American, a professor who has taken his Sabbatical year from the University of Montana to play his part in the struggle for Loyalist Spain and democracy. He is sent to a guerilla camp of partisans within the Fascist lines to blow up a strategic bridge. His is a complex problem in humanity, a group of undisciplined, unorganized natives, emotionally geared to go their own way, while he has a job that demands unreasoning, unwavering obedience. He falls in love with a lovely refugee girl, escaping the terrors of a fascist imprisonment, and their romance is sharply etched against a gruesome background. It is a searing book; Hemingway has done more to dramatize the Spanish War than any amount of abstract declamation. Yet he has done it through revealing the pettinesses, the indignities, the jealousies, the cruelties on both sides, never glorifying simply presenting starkly the belief in the principles for which these people fought a hopeless war, to give the rest of the world an interval to prepare. There is something of the implacable logic of Verdun in the telling. It's not a book for the thin-skinned; it has more than its fill of obscenities and the style is clipped and almost too elliptical for clarity at times. But it is a book that repays one for bleak moments of unpleasantness.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1940

ISBN: 0684803356

Page Count: 484

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1940

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