The Luster of Lost Things (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

With a hint of magical realism, this sweet story follows 12-year-old Walter as he searches for things, both physical and ethereal. Walter has a speaking disorder; his words get jumbled and he keeps to himself, his mother, and his mother's chocolate shop where chocolate mice jump rope with licorice. He spends his spare time helping people find missing objects, from musical instruments to thimbles. 

When the book of drawings that hold the magic, and the shop, together goes missing, Walter takes his golden retriever Milton on a day long adventure to find it. Along the way, Walter meets and helps a variety of lost people, including a homeless man named Nico, a man named Karl who has just lost his wife, and Ruby, a young girl looking for a friend. 

At the core of the story is Walter's own "lost." His father, who went missing before he was born, has been a constant loss for him and his language, limited to specific phrases and notes in his notebook. As he meets each new character, Walter begins to think about his own missing pieces and, in the end, finds what he needs to save the store and himself.

— Lindsey


In this story for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man Called Ove, when all seems lost, he finds what matters most.

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn't be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter's life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders--his mother's enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing--except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery's magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it--along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.

About the Author

Sophie Chen Keller was born in Beijing, China, and was raised in Ohio and California. Her fiction has won several awards and has appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train and Pedestal. After graduating from Harvard, she moved to New York City, where she currently resides with her husband and a not-so-secret cabinet of sweets.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780735210783
ISBN-10: 0735210780
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: August 8th, 2017
Pages: 336
Language: English