“A buoyant, surprising, deeply human novel.”
“A buoyant, surprising, deeply human novel.”
Do you remember what it was like being a kid? My memories from that time are some of my most vivid – sticky Ohio summers that went on forever, morning cartoons, midday PB&Js, and bedtime stories that took me to magical places. When I set out to write The Luster of Lost Things, I wanted to celebrate those lost days. I thought of the story as an adult version of the bedtime stories that meant so much to me as a kid. When we’re feeling suffocated by darkness, The Luster of Lost Things is a return to that time when the world was still brimming with wonder, and we could so clearly see the goodness that lived around us and in us.
The Luster of Lost Things is about seeing beyond the surface – “the skin of the world,” as Walter Lavender Jr. calls it. I know you’ll enjoy the story for what it is on the surface – a simple and uplifting tale of childlike wonder, about a boy, a dog, and their journey of losing and seeking and finding. And I also hope that you’ll enjoy the deeper layers in how the story is told – the voice, the relatable characters and situations, the topical social themes, and the observations on what it means to be human.
I invite you to join me in the search to discover the layers below, and I hope you will tell me about all the bright and beautiful things you find. Subscribe to my newsletter, and follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I look forward to hearing from you!
The Luster of Lost Things
August 8, 2017, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
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.
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I am the author of The Luster of Lost Things. My short fiction has previously appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train and Pedestal Magazine. Born in China and raised in Ohio and California, I graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Economics and worked in brand consulting and fashion before leaving to pursue my dream of writing. I currently live in New York City with my husband and a not-so-secret cabinet of sweets.
My love for fiction stems from the countless childhood hours my mom spent reading bedtime stories out loud, from dog-eared library copies of E.B. White and Roald Dahl, to help me learn English. So while my parents are mathematicians, I grew up writing short stories.
My first short story publication came when I was 15, in Glimmer Train, after I placed second in their Short Story Award for New Writers. I’ve known since then that I wanted to be a writer, and the first book I wanted to write would be a grown-up version of the books I loved so much as a kid, about a world like ours – populated by good people and children who see more deeply and clearly than any of us – but steeped in magic, something golden, and probably a little weirdness.
I’m rather fond of desserts at any time of the day, especially if they’re of the interesting, unusual variety, like cereal milk ice cream or red velvet pudding or spekuloos waffles (thanks, Shirley!). Growing up, my family had a golden retriever named Thor, after the Norse god of thunder and lightning, although he was afraid of both thunder and lightning.
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