“Mrs. Featherby had been having pleasant dreams until she woke to discover the front of her house had vanished overnight.”
Sound a bit odd? Most definitely intriguing. It’s the opening sentence of Janina Matthewson’s debut novel, OF THINGS GONE ASTRAY(The Friday Project/HarperCollins). From there the book only gets stranger, but in a good way, sort of. The thing is, each character loses the very thing their life depends on. Methodically, chapter by chapter, each one experiences a significant loss.
Mrs. Featherby wakes up to the wind blowing in her face, sees the front of her house missing, while the regular activities of her neighborhood continue on. She calls the police to report it missing and then makes another call to the builder for repairs. Delia has lived and cared for her mother and has basically never left her home. But mom is getting better, so when she decides to venture out, she realizes she’s lost her sense of direction, as well as purpose. Robert goes to his office one day to find the building he worked in daily for six years, gone.
But at the same time, young Jake whose father brought him to London after his mother’s sudden death, finds himself attracted to other people’s lost things. Ironically, he may end up losing his most valuable possession, his relationship with his dad.
There are numerous characters in OF THINGS GONE ASTRAY, and I appreciated how Janine was able to weave and bring together their stories. Instead of searching for reasons to explain their losses, it was wonderful how the characters adjusted to their situations. Of course, much like in real life, some needed a little more time than others to accept the process. How many of us faced with such a traumatic situation would be paralyzed and unable to change? This novel was a bit of a nudge for me to look at my own life; the routines I tightly embrace and even the ruts I might be stuck in.
Janina Matthewson uses magical realism to tell this story. It’s a popular technique amongst fantasy writers today. Readers of Janina Matthewson’s novel, OF THINGS GONE ASTRAY will just have to trust me and pick up her wonderful novel for a beautiful whimsical experience of magic, unlike any other! Thank you, Janina for writing this modern fable!
TLC Book Tours gave me a copy to read and now I’m gifting that copy to a lucky reader of THOUGHTS on THIS ‘n THAT. You can win a copy OF THINGS GONE ASTRAY if you just leave a comment of something you lost in the past that you thought you couldn’t live without. Just leave your thoughts with your email above in the comment area. I’ll announce a winner Monday!
About Janina Matthewson
Janina Matthewson is a writer and trained actress from Christchurch, New Zealand. She now lives in London. Of Things Gone Astray is her first full-length novel.