Title: Of Things Gone Astray
Author: Janina Matthewson
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: The Friday Project
Published: August 28, 2014
Page Amount: 278 pages
Blurb From Goodreads: On a seemingly normal morning in London, a group of people all lose something dear to them, something dear but peculiar: the front of their house, their piano keys, their sense of direction, their place of work.
Meanwhile, Jake, a young boy whose father brings him to London following his mother’s sudden death, finds himself strangely attracted to other people’s lost things. But little does he realize that his most valuable possession, his relationship with his father, is slipping away from him.
Why Read: It’s another Book Riot recommendation, folks, and you know what that means… it’s probably going to be really good. I’m a sucker for anything magical realism, and yeah, this book was strange even for me. But what’s the point in reading if not to experiment with something new every once in awhile.
Review: Combine girls turning into trees and walls going missing from people’s homes, and you’ve got some idea of what it’s like in the world of Janina Matthewson. Trust me, it only gets weirder from there. Instead of changing the small things about the world that everyone has to experience, the usual trope from normal magical realism novels – Matthewson takes things from people. Suddenly a character can’t find where she’s going, and a father loses touch with his son. A man lost his job, but literally, his job is no longer there. And somehow, it’s miraculously effective.
I was skeptical that I could keep track of all of the characters in this novel, and I wasn’t wrong. After four characters cycle through, it’s difficult to remember exactly who is who – until you begin to read their experience. Give it a moment though, and it all comes flooding back. You remember the old man who suddenly has no piano keys in the keyboard. You think, of course, the girl is waiting for someone to come to the airport, and suddenly her feet are roots- oh yes, that one.
The whole story has a sense of melancholy to it, and throughout the writing – it’s reflected in how characters speak and in how they describe what they’ve lost. Reading about all of these characters having lost something that they cannot simply articulate into words makes you as the reader wonder if you too have lost something and cannot remember. Is there something in your life that is unreachable now, or that’s always been untouchable? *Shudder* The whole book gave me a sense of unease, but somehow – that’s what I expected going out of it. So don’t read this if you aren’t ready to feel a little bit disturbed, but if you are (and we all should), then grab a copy and prepare for some serious oddities.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars