Lost: A Novel

Lost: A Novel

by Gregory Maguire


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“A brilliant, perceptive, and deeply moving fable.”
Boston Sunday Globe


Publishers Weekly calls Gregory Maguire’s Lost “a deftly written, compulsively readable modern-day ghost story.” Brilliantly weaving together the literary threads of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and the Jack the Ripper stories, the bestselling author of The Wicked Years canon creates a captivating fairy tale for the modern world. With Lost, Maguire—who re-imagined a darker, more dangerous Oz, and inspired the creation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway blockbuster Wicked—delivers a haunting tale of shadows and phantoms and things going bump in the night, confirming his reputation as “one of contemporary fiction’s most assured myth-makers” (Kirkus Reviews).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060988647
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/17/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 444,620
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

June 9, 1954

Place of Birth:

Albany, New York


B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Somebody Else in the Vehicle

said the attorney-type into his cell phone. He wiped the wet from his face. "There must be. It's in the carpool lane." He listened, squinting, and motioned to Winnie: Stop. Don't open the car door yet. Already, other drivers were slowing down to rubberneck. "Where are we, Braintree, Quincy? On 93 north, anyway, a half mile beyond the junction with 128. Yes, I know enough not to move anyone, but I'm telling you, you'll have a hell of a time getting an ambulance through, what with rush hour -- there'll be a backup a mile long before you know it."

He listened again. Then, "Right. I'll look. Two or more, maybe."

Returning from a few quiet days on Cape Cod, Winifred Rudge had missed her turnoff west and gotten stuck on the JFK toward Boston. Woolgathering, nail biting, something. Focus was a problem. Late for her appointment, she'd considered the odds: in this weather, what were her chances of being ticketed for violating the diamond lane's two-riders-or-more rule? Limited. She'd risked it. So she'd been at the right place on the downgrade to see the whole thing, despite the poor visibility. She'd watched the top third of a white pine snap in the high winds. Even from a half mile away, she'd noticed how the wood flesh had sprung out in diagonal striations, like nougat against rain-blackened bark. The crown of the tree twisted, then tilted. The wind had caught under the tree's parasol limbs and carried it across three lanes of slow-moving traffic, flinging it onto the hood and the roof of a northbound Subaruin the carpool lane. The driver of the Subaru, four cars ahead of Winnie, had braked too hard and hydroplaned left against the Jersey barriers. The evasive action hadn't helped.

Winnie had managed to tamp her brakes and avoid adding to the collection of crumpled fenders and popped hoods. She had been the first out in the rain, the first to start poking through dark rafts of pine needles. Mr. Useful Cell Phone was next, having emerged from some vehicle behind her. He carried a ridiculous out-blown umbrella, and when he got off the phone with the 911 operator he hooked the umbrella handle around a good-size tree limb and tried to yank it away.

"They said don't touch the passengers," he yelled through the rain.

Afraid her voice would betray her panic, she didn't even like to answer, but to reassure him she managed to say, "I know that much." The smell of pine boughs, sap on her, hands, water on her face. What was she scared of finding in that dark vehicle? But the prime virtue of weather is immediacy, and the wind tore away the spicy Christmas scent. In its place, a vegetable stink of cheap spilled gasoline. "We may have to get them out, do you smell that?" she shouted, and redoubled her efforts. They could use help; where were the other commuters? Just sitting in their cars, listening to hear themselves mentioned on the WGBH traffic report?

"Cars don't blow up like in the movies," he said, motioning her to take a position farther along the tree trunk. "Put your back against it and push; I'll pull. One. Two. Three." Thanks mostly to gravity they managed to dislodge the thing a foot or so, enough to reveal the windshield. It was still holding, though crazed into opacity with the impact. The driver, a fiftyish sack of a woman, was slanted against a net bag of volleyballs in the passenger seat. She didn't look lucky. The car had slammed up against the concrete barrier so tightly that both doors on the driver's side were blocked.

"Isn't there someone else?" said Winnie. "Didn't you say?"

"You know, I think that is gasoline. Maybe we better stand off."

Winnie made her way along the passenger side of the car, through branches double-jointed with rubbery muscle. The rear door was locked and the front door was locked. She peered through pine needles, around sports equipment. "There's a booster seat in the back," she yelled. "Break the window, can you?"

The umbrella handle wasn't strong enough. Winnie had nothing useful in her purse or her overnight bag. The cold rain made gluey boils on the windows. It was impossible to see in. "No car could catch on fire in a storm like this," she said. "Is that smoke, or just burned rubber from the brake pads?" But then another driver appeared, carrying a crowbar. "Smash the window," she told him.

"Hurry," said Cell Phone Man. "Do they automatically send fire engines, do you think?"

"Do it," she said. The newcomer, an older man in a Red Sox cap faded to pink, obliged. The window shattered, spraying glassy baby teeth. As she clawed for the recessed lock in the rear door, Winnie heard the mother begin to whimper. The door creaked open and more metal scraped. Winnie lurched and sloped herself in. The child strapped into the booster seat was too large for it. Her legs were thrown up in ungainly angles. "Maybe we can unlatch the whole contraption and drag it out," said Winnie, mostly to herself; she knew her voice wouldn't carry in the wind. She leaned over the child in the car's dark interior, into a hollow against which pine branches bunched on three sides. She fumbled for the buckle of the seat belt beneath the molded plastic frame of the booster. Then she gave up and pulled out, and slammed the door.

"I'll get it," said Red Sox Fan, massing up.

"They said leave everybody where they were," said Cell Phone, "you could snap a spine and do permanent damage."

"No spine in her," said Winnie. "It's a life-size..."

Lost. Copyright © by Gregory Maguire. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Lost 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 128 reviews.
venusekt More than 1 year ago
Maguire is one of my favorite authors, but this book is a dud. I usually expect the weird and wacky with his books, but in this one there was too much weird without purpose or connection. It pales in comparison to "Confessions" and the Wicked series. Skip it.
readalotLG More than 1 year ago
Read Wicked and really enjoyed it. Read Son of a Witch and thought it was OK. Currently trying to read A Lion Among Men and didn't like it quite as much as the first two. Wanted to take a break so I read Lost. What a waste of time. Slow, confusing, vague, tries way too hard to be "meaningful".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to give this book one star each for character, plot, etc. but the program would not allow me to give less than two stars. If you want to stare at a cool-looking book cover, pick this one up. If you want to read something interesting, don't bother opening it. Yawn!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Gregory Maguire but Lost was dissapointing. Think of this if you look at all the other Gregory Maguire books and then look at Lost. Lost looked like it was written by another author. All I can say is Gregory Maguire why did you write this?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Gregory Maguire but I was sorely disappointed with Lost. It was hard to follow and was not written in the whimsical sense like Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. It was dark,sinister, and highly confusing.I couldn't even finish the book. I tried again and again to get into Lost but to no avail.All I can ask is, Gregory what were you thinking?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Wicked and Confessions of an ugly step sister and enjoyed them both. But Lost did not fit the description that was on the cover. It leads you to believe you are going to read a book with modern ties to Scrooge and Jack the Ripper, when in truth it only quickly blows past these ideas every now and again. Most of the story is about a woman who went through a bad event in her life and blaimes everyone and anything for it. It is a hard read that is disjointed and follows no real path in any direction. Others said it came together in the last 15 pages but I would disagree and say it never came together for me and the last two pages left me thinking...'are you serious, this is how he ends it!' I wouldn't recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Wicked despite his rambling and overly wordy show. Enjoyed Confession of an Ugly Stepsister even more, but this book is horrid! I read 1-2 books a week, and it took me three days to get through 60 pages... I am returning the book today. Seriously not his best... not even close. I agree with other reviewers it is all over the place and generally just awful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was no where near publication. It is all over the place. As a book editor, I was amazed that this even made it to print. The whole thing comes together in the last 15 pages. Unfortunately, the previous 250 pages don't set up the end. Truly a bad book.
Anonymous 18 days ago
This was the worst book I have ever read. It was a waste of my time and the author's talent. Only a concussion could explain this travesty of a story. Such a shame.
BellaFoxx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Winifred Rudge writes children¿s books, she has also written a best seller the royalties of which supports her. Working on a new book, a change from her usual fare, she travels to London for `research¿. She normally stays with her old friend and cousin (by marriage) John Comestor, but when she gets to his house, she finds he is gone and the house is apparently haunted. Winnie becomes obsessed with finding out what has happened to John and who or what is haunting the house.Included in the story is Winnie¿s new novel, or the notes for it. Rather confusing at first because the thoughts spring up in the middle of Winnie doing something. However once I realized what was going on, I was able to follow the two story lines rather easily.The story of the Ghosts of Christmas (A Christmas Carol) is interwoven in this account along with other stories I am not familiar with. This is ghost story involving old ghosts known for a long time, but not known and also recently discovered. Its all explained in the book.There are two main characters in this story, two people that have lost something, Winnie and the ghost. The ghost is centuries old and has been searching for a long time, Winnie¿s lose is more recent. In summary there is more then one plot line in this narrative and at times it can get confusing, however in the end, all the stories come together and sort of make sense.
KatharineDB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it- not as much as Wicked but a great story about loss and finding one's self again after tragedy hits
RidgewayGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When in danger, when in doubt,Run in circles, scream and shout.Lost is a book by the author of Wicked. Maguire cleverly combines fairytales, history and an agile imagination to create stories that are impossible not to keep thinking about, long after the book is finished. Lost uses the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge as its pillar, to tell the story of Winnie Rudge, a writer who has traveled to London to research her next novel. She arrives to find the relative she planned to stay with missing, his flat occupied by builders and a very creepy haunting. Maguire's talent is in how he combines all the disparate elements of his story into a seamless tale.
lindenstein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Maguire's work; I really enjoy the way he takes traditional tales and makes them into something more complicated and different from their normal role. This was not my favorite story, because I was expecting something different. I thought there would be more incorporation of Scrooge or Jack the Ripper, but they were more like figureheads who were present in name but not in character. I thought that the story was interesting and enjoyed the book for what it was, but I feel that the book's synopsis on the back maybe was the most misleading part of it. I found the Wendy to be very likable, most of the time, and I really felt like I connected with her character and wanted her to win at the end of the story. Overall, I liked the story but would not consider it one of my favorite books of all time.
norabelle414 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Definitely not up to par with the rest of Maguire's books.
Jen7r on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Lost" is quite unlike Gregory Maguire's other books. They are of olden days; this is modern. If you are a fan of Maguire's other stuff, you may be surprised how different this one is. But still, this is an amazing book. Excellent story-telling, intelligent and imaginative, and, finally, really moving. Very highly recommended.
sszkutak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read Wicked and Son of a Witch, both great works by Gregory Maguire, Lost was not that at all. It was slow and boring. I was disappointed. In hopes of another well written tragic story, I received whiny and melodramatic- the main character is annoying. The story attempted to have the main character search out the background of Jack the Ripper, and there really wasn't any of that.
sambina8051 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish someone would have stopped me from reading this. It was NOT his best book. Ugh.
ColieCakes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I cannot read 3 pages of this book without falling asleep. The story has gone nowhere for the majority of the book. I'm giving up now and based on the other reviews, doubt I will be missing a spectacular end.
lycomayflower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book certainly held my interest (I read about three-quarters of it in one day), but it's ultimately somewhat disappointing. Maguire starts out by setting up a truly creepy ghost story, but it turns out the book is actually a character study. I'm fine with books which defy categorization or which mix or meld genres (in fact, when they are done well, I love books like that), but in Lost I couldn't help but feel like Maguire cheated by reeling me in with a ghost story and then, when I was well and truly hooked, giving me the literary character novel he wanted to write all along. When a writer pulls a switch like this, disappointment is almost inevitable. I'd have been happy with a straight-up ghost story, and I'd have sat still for the character study from the beginning without being hoodwinked into it. Maguire is good enough to do either; I wish he'd had enough wisdom (or confidence?) to pick one or the other.
auraesque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Slow-moving and anticlimactic this book is a frustrating read. I have enjoyed Maguire's other novels but this one just didn't do it for me. The main character is obnxious and irritating as are the other characters and the mystery is slow to build. Once we do learn the truth it feels as though we're reading en entirely different novel only the first half has been completely omitted: the "twist" comes out of left field and doesn't make sense in the context. Even if you're a fan of Maguire's other books do yourself a favor and skip this one.
BunnyCates on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been trying to read this thing since Sept.BORING.I have, in the process, discovered a cure for my insomnia!
lewispike on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wish I hadn't bought this. I thought Wicked was interesting and bought this and confessions together on that basis. Bleuh, what a mistake.
Genki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had high expectations for this book after having read Wicked, Son of a Witch, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, and Mirror Mirror. I could not get into this book, and made it through the book only because I was determined to finish it.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like Maguires other books like Wicked and Son of a Witch, but this one seemed a bit off the mark. It was a struggle for me to finish.
thioviolight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not bad really, but I think I wasn't reading the book closely enough to enjoy it fully; if I had read it more slowly, I may have appreciated it more. The twists are interesting, and there are surprises 'til the end, but there are some parts that I found too rambling and some points that I was not quite able to connect to the whole. I did not particularly feel for the main character either. Still, not too bad, but I think I was expecting more out of the book.