The Book of Lost Things reminded me of two stories I have encountered before: The Chronicles of Narnia and the film "Pan's Labyrinth." In reality, it is quite different than both, but there are strong commonalities:
- a child escaping from his early 20th century war-torn world into a fantasy land
- the fantasy land experiences all have deep philosophical meaning
The book starts with an introduction to David, a 12-year-old English boy. In the first few chapters, his mother dies of an illness. Strangely enough, this remains my favorite part of the entire novel because of the way Connolly tackles the monster that is grief with the simplicity in which it presents itself to children.
Beyond that, David - a bookworm we can all love - finds himself losing touch with reality and delving into books, which eventually leads into this new fantasy world. Grimm's fairy tales have been culled for material, and Connolly's retellings are done well. In the same vein, the novel is quite dark... it is not a children's story. I found it to be a worthwhile statement on coming of age, loss and morality.