The Secret of Lost Things
By Sheridan Hay
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780307277336, 368pp.)
Publication Date: March 11, 2008
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Eighteen years old and completely alone, Rosemary arrives in New York from Tasmania with little other than her love of books and an eagerness to explore the city. Taking a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books called the Arcade, she knows she has found a home. But when Rosemary reads a letter from someone seeking to “place” a lost manuscript by Herman Melville, the bookstore erupts with simmering ambitions and rivalries. Including actual correspondence by Melville, The Secret of Lost Things is at once a literary adventure and evocative portrait of a young woman making a life for herself in the city.
Sheridan Hay has worked in book stores (including the Strand) and in trade publishing for many years. She holds an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington, and has published short stories. She teaches writing in the graduate program at Parson's School of Design at the New School. This is her first novel.
- In the novel's opening pages, Rosemary tells us she was born on Anzac Day, commemorating the death of soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli. How is she affected by knowing this? What does April 25 signify in both the opening and closing chapters?
“Altogether enchanting. . . . Anyone susceptible to the sorcery of books is likely to fall under the spell of this one.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer"An engrossing coming-of-age story full of intriguing secrets. . . . A memorable debut." —The Seattle Times"Intricate. . . . Hay interpolates passages by Melville, Auden, and Borges, skillfully using them to illuminate both the significance of the lost text and her heroine's interior journey." —The New Yorker"A lyrical, exciting writer. . . . The best way for a novelist to celebrate books is to write a good one. And The Secret of Lost Things is just that." —The New York Times Book Review