What Was Lost. O’Flynn, Catherine.

O’Flynn, Catherine. What Was Lost. Anchor Canada. F;4/11.

Entertaining and absorbing; I read it in two days. It doesn’t resound with the holistic depth and breadth of great literature, but she has fun with an impressive range of repertoire.

The characters are stuck in ennui and boredom that reminds me of difficult times in my life. There is brilliant ironic obscene dialogue, and a deeply-felt sour sense about some of the minor characters and the awfulness of the mall. In a couple of spots I imagined the author or editor should have kept the conversation from slipping into not-credible silliness, but only once or twice that I recall, and there’s still plenty else to hold interest.

As the book jacket tells us, it’s enough of a whodunit to carry interest on that level, and also a reasonably creepy ghost story, without ever losing the sense of serious writing. I did figure out who the villain was before it was revealed (and I’m not very good at that usually), but the plot twists and surprises are fascinating even so. We’re told the author was born in 1970 so she’s just over 40. It’ll be interesting to see what comes next. 7.9.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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