I loved The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, and you will too, if you give it your full attention. It is not the easiest book to follow.
It’s not often I come across such a thoughtful novel . . . thought-ful in the sense I keep thinking about the subtle meanings, themes, and truths. I would say “deep,” but that word is too heavy for this fast, simple story, frequently marked by humor and double entendre.
This story is about human kindness. It’s about the small things in life we dismiss, but which may be terribly important to another. How a tiny action may reverberate through a lifetime. How something you may think is lost can be found again––given the right moment, a change of heart, the need. The details are everything. The central theme in this story, once you discover it, will break your heart.
I was struck by the characters’ simplicity of goodness . . . the type of goodness each of us could attain with a small amount of effort. A little girl recognizes kindness in a giant of a black man on the streets, giving away free umbrellas. A freely affectionate Down’s Syndrome young woman was rebuffed by many but was accepted by many more. People take in strays of the animal and human kinds and make their own lives richer.
Not that the novel is sickly sweet. There are plenty of mean-hearted, grasping people to off-set and stymy the good.
Do not be put off by the many characters with tiny roles. Give them your attention; they just might show up again. Do not be tempted to skip over the vignettes slid in between the chapters. In the end, all those dangling threads will entwine and will make sense.
I almost wish I had begun reading with a pen and paper at hand to list the characters. When I read the final page, I was compelled to flip back to find characters in the early chapters who showed up in later chapters. There were clues everywhere. Very clever. I can’t imagine how the author kept track of the details.
One regret. Two of the characters frequently teased each other using quotes from popular movies. I know I didn’t catch all the references and, therefore, missed part of their relationship. It’s a shame those references will be meaningless once memories of the movies fade.
I’d recommend this book for a book discussion group. There’s much to discuss and you’ll be surprised at what others catch that you did not.