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2.8 106
by Gregory Maguire

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At the flat in Weatherall Walk there was no milk in the fridge, no ice in the tiny freezer unit.... The better furniture was hung over with drop cloths, the leather-bound books evacuated from their shelves.... Unconnected wiring threaded from walls, and a smell of lazy drains, something rotting, unfurled from the sewer all the way up to this flat. Winnie wrenched open


At the flat in Weatherall Walk there was no milk in the fridge, no ice in the tiny freezer unit.... The better furniture was hung over with drop cloths, the leather-bound books evacuated from their shelves.... Unconnected wiring threaded from walls, and a smell of lazy drains, something rotting, unfurled from the sewer all the way up to this flat. Winnie wrenched open a window. But no sign of John?

Winifred Rudge, a bemused writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to jump-start her new novel about a woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her stepcousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his apartment in the nineteenth-century rowhouse once owned by Winnie's great-great-grandfather. Is it the spirit of this ancestor, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens's childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin?

Winnie begins to investigate, but John's erstwhile girlfriend, Allegra, is aggressively unhelpful, and his downstairs neighbor, the cat-obsessed Mrs. Maddingly, is growing stranger by the day. Gripped by inspiration and desperation alike, Winnie finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of specters and shades, some from her family's peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past.

In the spirit of A. S. Byatt's Possession, with dark overtones echoing from A Christmas Carol, Lostpresents a rich fictional world that will enrapture Gregory Maguire's eager audience.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Maguire's brilliantly imaginative tale of a novelist haunted by the unsettled spirits of Jack the Ripper, Ebenezer Scrooge and her very own past is brought to life by narrator Jenny Sterlin. An experienced children's fiction narrator, Sterlin brings an air of the fantastic and otherworldly to this supernatural tale. With her classically trained British accent the story becomes a fairy tale of sorts. Sterlin's superb reading guides listeners through the gloomy atmosphere of Maguire's London. With a large cast of murky and mysterious Londoners to voice, Sterlin provides a variety of grainy dialects and accents that help define each individually. Sterlin knows how to get and hold one's attention, and her sharp and often menacing tone demands the audience's consideration at every crucial and thrilling plot twist. Playing this audiobook with the lights down low on a blustery winter night is sure to spark the imaginations of listeners of all ages. A Harper paperback (Reviews, Sept. 10, 2001). (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Author of interpretations of the Cinderella story in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Regan Books, 1999) and the Wizard of Oz in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (HarperCollins, 1996), Maguire takes elements of Jack the Ripper, A Christmas Carol, and Peter Pan, and touches of Alice in Wonderland and Dracula to deftly create a modern ghost story that readily allows the reader to suspend any disbelief of a ghost locked up in the wall of a London apartment. This long-ago residence of Ozias Rudge, the supposed real Ebenezer Scrooge who told his ghost story to young Dickens, is an appropriate setting for a modern tale of suspense and supernatural horror. When Winnie, a disillusioned middle-aged writer, releases the ghost of Gervasa, a young, condemned thirteenth-century French woman grieving for her unborn child, the story becomes deliciously suspenseful. The reader wants to discover what happened to the infant and whether Gervasa convinces Winnie to relinquish her body. After all, in Gervasa's opinion, Winnie really is not alive anyway. Maguire convincingly wraps up the tale, allowing Winnie a chance at another life and the ghost a chance to enter the afterlife, knowing her infant survived her death by burning. With almost three hundred Amazon.com reader reviews for Wicked certainly indicating a wide readership, Maguire's Lost will delight his followers as well as expand his readership. Reading this book might even cause young adults to explore the many classics Maguire refers to, which most certainly will delight high school English teachers. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Regan/HarperCollins, 339p, $26. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Ruth E. Cox SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Library Journal
Children's novelist Winifred Rudge flies from her Boston-area home to London to pay a visit to her distant cousin and old friend John. Instead of receiving his guest open-armed, John is nowhere to be found. His office staff is evasive in fielding Winnie's calls, and Mac and Jenkins, a pair of superstitious home remodelers hired by John to work on the kitchen in his absence, begin behaving strangely, as eerie symbols appear on the wall and inexplicable noises issue from the walled-up chimney space. That Winnie is not alone in her victimization by an otherworldly spirit is a good sign she's not having a breakdown. Maguire, who already has two best sellers to his credit (e.g., Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister) makes the supernatural chillingly real. Setting the story in Winnie and John's ancestral home and filling the neighboring house with John's intimidating new inamorata, Allegra, makes us root for the self-destructive Winnie, a most unlikely heroine. An essential purchase and a substantial Halloween treat. Margee Smith, Grace A. Dow Memorial Lib., Midland, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.88(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Somebody Else in the Vehicle

said the attorney-type into his cell phone. He wiped the wet from his face. "There must be. It's in the carpool lane." He listened, squinting, and motioned to Winnie: Stop. Don't open the car door yet. Already, other drivers were slowing down to rubberneck. "Where are we, Braintree, Quincy? On 93 north, anyway, a half mile beyond the junction with 128. Yes, I know enough not to move anyone, but I'm telling you, you'll have a hell of a time getting an ambulance through, what with rush hour -- there'll be a backup a mile long before you know it."

He listened again. Then, "Right. I'll look. Two or more, maybe."

Returning from a few quiet days on Cape Cod, Winifred Rudge had missed her turnoff west and gotten stuck on the JFK toward Boston. Woolgathering, nail biting, something. Focus was a problem. Late for her appointment, she'd considered the odds: in this weather, what were her chances of being ticketed for violating the diamond lane's two-riders-or-more rule? Limited. She'd risked it. So she'd been at the right place on the downgrade to see the whole thing, despite the poor visibility. She'd watched the top third of a white pine snap in the high winds. Even from a half mile away, she'd noticed how the wood flesh had sprung out in diagonal striations, like nougat against rain-blackened bark. The crown of the tree twisted, then tilted. The wind had caught under the tree's parasol limbs and carried it across three lanes of slow-moving traffic, flinging it onto the hood and the roof of a northbound Subaruin the carpool lane. The driver of the Subaru, four cars ahead of Winnie, had braked too hard and hydroplaned left against the Jersey barriers. The evasive action hadn't helped.

Winnie had managed to tamp her brakes and avoid adding to the collection of crumpled fenders and popped hoods. She had been the first out in the rain, the first to start poking through dark rafts of pine needles. Mr. Useful Cell Phone was next, having emerged from some vehicle behind her. He carried a ridiculous out-blown umbrella, and when he got off the phone with the 911 operator he hooked the umbrella handle around a good-size tree limb and tried to yank it away.

"They said don't touch the passengers," he yelled through the rain.

Afraid her voice would betray her panic, she didn't even like to answer, but to reassure him she managed to say, "I know that much." The smell of pine boughs, sap on her, hands, water on her face. What was she scared of finding in that dark vehicle? But the prime virtue of weather is immediacy, and the wind tore away the spicy Christmas scent. In its place, a vegetable stink of cheap spilled gasoline. "We may have to get them out, do you smell that?" she shouted, and redoubled her efforts. They could use help; where were the other commuters? Just sitting in their cars, listening to hear themselves mentioned on the WGBH traffic report?

"Cars don't blow up like in the movies," he said, motioning her to take a position farther along the tree trunk. "Put your back against it and push; I'll pull. One. Two. Three." Thanks mostly to gravity they managed to dislodge the thing a foot or so, enough to reveal the windshield. It was still holding, though crazed into opacity with the impact. The driver, a fiftyish sack of a woman, was slanted against a net bag of volleyballs in the passenger seat. She didn't look lucky. The car had slammed up against the concrete barrier so tightly that both doors on the driver's side were blocked.

"Isn't there someone else?" said Winnie. "Didn't you say?"

"You know, I think that is gasoline. Maybe we better stand off."

Winnie made her way along the passenger side of the car, through branches double-jointed with rubbery muscle. The rear door was locked and the front door was locked. She peered through pine needles, around sports equipment. "There's a booster seat in the back," she yelled. "Break the window, can you?"

The umbrella handle wasn't strong enough. Winnie had nothing useful in her purse or her overnight bag. The cold rain made gluey boils on the windows. It was impossible to see in. "No car could catch on fire in a storm like this," she said. "Is that smoke, or just burned rubber from the brake pads?" But then another driver appeared, carrying a crowbar. "Smash the window," she told him.

"Hurry," said Cell Phone Man. "Do they automatically send fire engines, do you think?"

"Do it," she said. The newcomer, an older man in a Red Sox cap faded to pink, obliged. The window shattered, spraying glassy baby teeth. As she clawed for the recessed lock in the rear door, Winnie heard the mother begin to whimper. The door creaked open and more metal scraped. Winnie lurched and sloped herself in. The child strapped into the booster seat was too large for it. Her legs were thrown up in ungainly angles. "Maybe we can unlatch the whole contraption and drag it out," said Winnie, mostly to herself; she knew her voice wouldn't carry in the wind. She leaned over the child in the car's dark interior, into a hollow against which pine branches bunched on three sides. She fumbled for the buckle of the seat belt beneath the molded plastic frame of the booster. Then she gave up and pulled out, and slammed the door.

"I'll get it," said Red Sox Fan, massing up.

"They said leave everybody where they were," said Cell Phone, "you could snap a spine and do permanent damage."

"No spine in her," said Winnie. "It's a life-size..."

Lost. Copyright © by Gregory Maguire. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
June 9, 1954
Place of Birth:
Albany, New York
B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990

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Lost 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 104 reviews.
venusekt More than 1 year ago
Maguire is one of my favorite authors, but this book is a dud. I usually expect the weird and wacky with his books, but in this one there was too much weird without purpose or connection. It pales in comparison to "Confessions" and the Wicked series. Skip it.
readalotLG More than 1 year ago
Read Wicked and really enjoyed it. Read Son of a Witch and thought it was OK. Currently trying to read A Lion Among Men and didn't like it quite as much as the first two. Wanted to take a break so I read Lost. What a waste of time. Slow, confusing, vague, tries way too hard to be "meaningful".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to give this book one star each for character, plot, etc. but the program would not allow me to give less than two stars. If you want to stare at a cool-looking book cover, pick this one up. If you want to read something interesting, don't bother opening it. Yawn!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Gregory Maguire but Lost was dissapointing. Think of this if you look at all the other Gregory Maguire books and then look at Lost. Lost looked like it was written by another author. All I can say is Gregory Maguire why did you write this?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Gregory Maguire but I was sorely disappointed with Lost. It was hard to follow and was not written in the whimsical sense like Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. It was dark,sinister, and highly confusing.I couldn't even finish the book. I tried again and again to get into Lost but to no avail.All I can ask is, Gregory what were you thinking?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Wicked and Confessions of an ugly step sister and enjoyed them both. But Lost did not fit the description that was on the cover. It leads you to believe you are going to read a book with modern ties to Scrooge and Jack the Ripper, when in truth it only quickly blows past these ideas every now and again. Most of the story is about a woman who went through a bad event in her life and blaimes everyone and anything for it. It is a hard read that is disjointed and follows no real path in any direction. Others said it came together in the last 15 pages but I would disagree and say it never came together for me and the last two pages left me thinking...'are you serious, this is how he ends it!' I wouldn't recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Wicked despite his rambling and overly wordy show. Enjoyed Confession of an Ugly Stepsister even more, but this book is horrid! I read 1-2 books a week, and it took me three days to get through 60 pages... I am returning the book today. Seriously not his best... not even close. I agree with other reviewers it is all over the place and generally just awful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was no where near publication. It is all over the place. As a book editor, I was amazed that this even made it to print. The whole thing comes together in the last 15 pages. Unfortunately, the previous 250 pages don't set up the end. Truly a bad book.
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Certainly not the best novel written by Maguire. The story line is somewhat intriguing but in the end, it leaves something to be desired. A disappointing read, indeed, for a die-hard fan.
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