Every now and again a book comes along that makes your heart soar. It also makes you want to rush out in the street waving it at random strangers, yelling at them to read it.
I haven’t quite resorted to the latter. Yet. I am considering buying copies for dear friends as presents with the message, ‘This book will cheer you up.’
Not life-changing. Not great political thought. It will simply cheer you up. And let’s face it, with the world in the state it’s in, staying cheerful can be herculean.
What’s the book? Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things.
I’m late to the buzz (as usual) and have to confess to only buying it because I thought the cover was pretty and its purchase enabled free delivery from Amazon. I hadn’t heard all the hype.
What’s it about? It’s about a writer of short stories who likes to keep the things he finds and about the woman who inherits his house. It’s the story of lost belongings, lost people and lost dogs finding their rightful place. It made me laugh out loud, something I haven’t done since reading Tom Sharpe’s Wilt on a London commuter train, and cry for the first time since reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Part romance, part ghost story, part touching tale of how friendship can save people. The book is, quite frankly, a bit of a mess. I can imagine lots of creative writing tutors up and down the country tearing their hair out and saying, ‘You just can’t structure a book like that!’ But it works in its own sweet way and is all tied up most satisfactorily in the end. It would make an excellent book club read.
It’s nice. A much underused word and a much underrated quality. We need more niceness in the world, especially at the moment.
Available here, I can’t recommend it enough. Go on, for a few pennies you could nice up your life.