Review - What was Lost, Catherine O'Flynn

I remember when, last year, I read Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go I gave up halfway through and complained to someone that it wasn't emotional enough, that I wasn't that interested in the characters. And they replied 'it's meant to be like that, that's the whole point'. I wasn't convinced. And, reading What Was Lost, I'm of the same mind. It took me a while to get into it and I kept tripping up over too much repetition, banging points home again and again and I kept thinking, 'maybe it's meant to be like that, that's the whole point', what with it being about day to day monotony of alienated labour and lives. I really got into it halfway through - I began to care about Lisa, one of the central characters. However, by the end I have to say I felt unsatisfied as a few loose strands were clumsily brought together in an attempt at a big bow. I love reading about urban alienation, but this didn't quite cut the mustard. I've yet to read the other Booker longlist titles, but I do hope that What was Lost doesn't walk off with the prize. It was good, it was accomplished, especially for a debut novel, but it was too flawed. Maybe that's the whole point!

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