The debut novel of 34-year-old Australian writer Brooke Davis, Lost & Found is a literary sensation before it’s published, generating a lot of interest at this year’s London Book Fair, sparking a bidding war overseas.
Millie Bird (aka Captain Funeral), seven-years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her red, curly hair. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns.
Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house – or spoken to another human being – since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silences by yelling at passers by, watching loud static on the TV and maintaining a strict daily schedule.
Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl is moved into a nursing home but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.
A series of events binds the three together on a road trip that takes them from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie and along the Nullarbor to the edge of the continent. Millie wants to find her mum. Karl wants to find out how to be a man. And Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.
They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life.
Brooke Davis grew up in Bellbrae, Victoria. She attempted to write her first novel when she was ten years old, which was a genre-busting foray into the inner-workings of a young teenage girl’s mind – Anne of Green Gables meets The Baby-sitters Club meets Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – titled Summer Sadness. Fortunately it remains unfinished, as she quickly realised she didn’t know the first thing about sadness, or being a teenager.
Once she left those teenage years behind, she completed her Honours degree in writing at the University of Canberra, winning the Allen & Unwin Prize for Prose Fiction, the Verandah Prose Prize, and the University Medal. Brooke recently completed her PhD in creative writing at Curtin University in Western Australia, and was awarded the 2009 Bobbie Cullen Memorial Award for Women Writers, the 2009 AAWP Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper, and the 2011 Postgraduate Queensland Writing Prize while there.
She loves to sell other people’s books, and is sometimes allowed to do that at two very nice bookshops: one in Perth and one in Torquay. Lost & Found is her first proper novel, and much to Brooke’s surprise, proved to be the buzz book of the 2014 London Book Fair. The translation rights have since been sold into sixteen countries and major deals have been confirmed in the United States and Great Britain.
Image: Lost & Found book cover