Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger

Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger

Lost and Wanted.jpg

Lost and Wanted
by Nell Freudenberger
Hardcover, 336 pages
Knopf (April 2, 2019)
Advance copy provided by publisher

Over the past several years, my reading has averaged out to the equivalent of completing at least one book per week; I note this, along with my advancing age, to demonstrate how remarkable it is when one particular book stands out in my mind over many years.

In 2012, author Nell Freudenberger published her second novel, The Newlyweds, and I was completely captivated; since then, I’ve read her debut novel, The Dissident, and anxiously awaited another release.

It’s only that, as the world seems to become an increasingly dangerous place, I wonder if happiness is the point. Maybe passion, something that can keep you satisfied in your own head, independent of other people, is going to be worth more in Jack’s lifetime.

Have you ever experienced a quality in an author’s writing and thought, “This, THIS is what I’ve been looking for!”? For me, Freudenberger’s writing fits that description perfectly; I often struggle to verbalize what it is I love so much about her work, but I know I’m not alone in my fanaticism.

In Lost and Wanted, its protagonist, Helen Clapp, is a brilliant physics professor who has also found success writing about physics for an audience of non-scientists; the principles of physics are the lens through which Helen experiences life and the world around her. Unfortunately, there are times when we face situations that are not readily explained by logical principles - like unexpected deaths and unforeseen outcomes - and Freudenberger crafts a beautifully powerful, as well as educating (I learned so many new things about physics!), novel that binds these two elements together in a way I would never otherwise have imagined.

Sometimes you could hope for an outcome so intensely that it led you to break your own rules in order to produce it; even very distinguished scientists sometimes saw a meaningful pattern in what turned out to be simply noise.

To those of you who may be skeptical about the science: fear not; this wonderful story is truly about relationships, the ways in which we make connections during difficult circumstances, and the truly unbelievable paths that are often forged through grief. I could hardly put this one down and I hope you’ll give it a try; for me, the wait was most definitely worth it…but I’ll continue to look forward to more work from this highly talented author.

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