Salman Rushdie is practically a legend as an author, so choosing to read and possibly review the bestselling Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights was a no-brainer. Lucy Foley, on the other hand, is still making her name as an author but there was something very intriguing about the publisher’s description of The Book of Lost and Found – and how can a bookaholic resist a title with the word “Book” in it? Both authors have written very different novels but both revolve around love stories; past, present, and future. Salman Rushdie’s novel is a near-future novel about a timeless love and its consequences, while Lucy Foley’s novel is about a search into the recent past for one’s roots and the discovery of a past as well as a present love. Sound interesting? Be sure to enter our giveaway because one of you is going to win both novels!
In The Book of Lost and Found, Kate is mourning the loss of her mother who’s passed away. There were things that still puzzle Kate about her mother, an ex-ballerina who was at best enigmatic, so she fears some issues between them may never be resolved. As if this loss weren’t enough, Kate’s beloved maternal grandmother develops dementia and has to be moved to long-term care. Among the things her grandmother bequeaths Kate is a portrait that looks a lot like her mother, and that portrait sparks a quest to learn not just her mother’s secrets but also to learn who she, Kate, is. It’s a quest that will take Kate places she’s never been literally and figuratively. She will uncover far more than she bargained for, including a love story that began in the 1920’s before being interrupted by war. And she will stumble upon a love of her own.
“I picked up the other piece of paper. It was stiffer, a fine card, one side blank. I turned it over, and forgot to breathe. A line drawing in pen and ink, exquisitely done. It was my mother. She was seated on what appeared to be a picnic rug, with the vague suggestion of water – a river, or a lake perhaps – behind her. She gazed straight out at me, half smiling.
By a slow process of realization, I came to understand that it wasn’t my mother at all. It couldn’t be, even had the hair not been wrong, had the clothes not been strange and antique, not like anything I’d seen Mum wear. For the date, written above the signature, was 1929. Now I knew who she must be. Now I could understand Eve’s [Kate’s grandmother’s] wretchedness, her terrible sense of guilt at what she’d done.”
Have you guessed from the super brief synopsis? I began reading The Book of Lost and Found but it touched too closely on my current situation with mom, so I put it down thinking I’d come back to it…and I just haven’t been able to do that. Sometimes a novel hits too close to what’s going on in real life and, even if I find the writing and the story to be compelling, it just isn’t the right time to read that novel. That was the case here.
So, given my policy of only including novels I enjoyed, why is The Book of Lost and Found even on this web site? Lucy Foley’s writing flows beautifully. The characters come alive on the page and Kate’s search is intriguing. I love that there is juxtaposition between the past and the present so we really get a feel for who Kate’s family members were as people, not just family members with deep secrets. For those reasons and more, I wanted to include this novel in a pay-it-forward giveaway so someone who isn’t going through what I’m going through can enjoy it. This is the exception to the rule…
Our second novel is Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, the latest bestseller by Salman Rushie. No one suspects anything is majorly wrong in the world until one day in the near future a major storm strikes New York City. Suddenly all kinds of bizarre things begin happening. Among the weirdness coming into being are: a gardener who is walking but whose feet don’t touch the ground; a graphic novelist who finds a mysterious being in his apartment that resembles one of his characters; and a baby abandoned in the mayor’s office who is a politician’s worst nightmare, because this innocent baby detects corruption just by being near it and marks those who are corrupt with boils and blisters. WTH is going on?
“There had been fires, and buildings our ancestors had known all their lives stood charred among them, staring into the pitiless brightness through the hollow sockets of their blackened eyes, like the undead on TV. As our ancestors emerged from their places of safety and lurched through the orphaned streets, the storm began to feel like their fault. There were preachers on television calling it God’s punishment for their licentious ways. But that was not the point. It did feel, at least to some of them, that something they had made had escaped their grasp and, freed, had raged around them for nights. When the earth, air and water calmed down they feared that force’s return. But for a time they were busy with repair work, with feeding the hungry and caring for the old and weeping for the fallen trees, and there was no time to think about the future. Wise voices calmed our ancestors, telling them not to think of the weather as a metaphor. It was neither a warning nor a curse. It was just the weather. This was the soothing information they wanted. They accepted it. So most of them were looking in the wrong direction and did not notice the moment when the strangenesses arrived to turn everything upside down.”
What no one knows is that these odd people are all direct descendants of a love match that was forbidden, a love between a mortal and a jinn who crossed the veil between worlds. Dunia, a jinn princess, fell in love with a mortal man centuries ago and together they produced an amazing number of children over their long life spans. Neither of them had any idea their children held special powers hidden deep away, just waiting for the right catalyst to bring them out into the open. And those children begat more children, until Dunia’s progeny were spread across the world. Those children will make all the difference in a battle between good and evil that will last two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights (a.k.a., one thousand and one nights).
In case you haven’t guessed yet, Salman Rushdie has taken Eastern fables and done a what-if spin on them, given our current world situation – not to belittle in any way the scope and depth of this novel. Dunia’s love is timeless and boundless, and it really does fall into the cork being taken out of the genie bottle realm of unpredictable consequences. And those consequences go far beyond what can be covered in a review. It all comes back to choices again and how we can never predict the ripple effect they will have in the universe. In Dunia’s case, that ripple effect is phenomenal.
Have you ever read a Salman Rushdie novel? They are not for the light reader who wants a quick read. You really dig deep in his novels. There is a reason he’s considered one of the greatest novelists of our time. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a very timely read, containing mythology, history, science fiction, urban fantasy, and, above all, a timeless love story. It needs to be peeled back one layer at a time, and savored. Even though its basis is a love story, this is not a romance novel or a light read. I think it’s a welcome change from summer reading – the perfect kind of novel for winter when you just want get cozy with a well-written novel, dig deep into it, and ignore the chilly weather outside.
Can’t wait to read one or both of these novels? The Book of Lost and Found & Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights are both available from your favorite online bookseller below in all formats.
I’d love to get your comments on The Book of Lost and Found, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, Lucy Foley, Salman Rushdie, and/or Rushdie’s other work, and/or this review.
One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days by Salman Rushdie!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 12/5/2015, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
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7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
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