Bingo Square (Round 2): Cannonballer Says!
I thought Caitlin_D’s review was intriguing, and as much as I love fantasy, it’s been nice to incorporate some contemporary fiction back into my reading. Oddly enough, this is the second novel I’ve read this year with short stories interlaced into the narrative, the other being Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows.
Over forty years ago, Anthony’s fiancé died unexpectedly, and on the same day that Anthony lost Therese, he lost a final gift and keepsake she had given him only that morning. As a result, he has started collecting lost items as he finds them, hoping that one day perhaps he can reunite the owners with the lost object, or that someone is taking care of his lost thing in his absence.
He hired Laura about six years ago as a personal assistant though she doesn’t know about his room of lost things until after he dies and wills her his house and all the belongings. He leaves her with one mission – to help the objects find their way to their owners and make a difference in at least one person’s life. Laura is a bit of a lost thing herself. After a promising start, she married the wrong man and settled for less. After an affair and a divorce, she applied for Anthony’s job posting, and has been mostly content to live in the background. This new mission gives her a new focus, while also creating a new family group for as Sunshine, a next door neighbor with Down’s Syndrome, and Freddy, the gardener, quickly become wrapped up in the project as well.
Additionally, there is a parallel narrative going from the perspective of Eunice ranging from 1974 to the present day. On the day of her job interview with publisher Bomber, Eunice finds a gold frame picture and keeps it as a good luck charm. She finds out after she starts the job that a woman had died down the street the same day she had the interview. The connection is obvious, and the reader follows Eunice and Bomber’s friendship through the years.
I enjoyed Eunice as a character more since Laura’s insecurities could drive to be a bit abrasive, but I quite enjoyed the novel and the little segments revealing the stories behind the objects.
My one quibble with this novel is that the character with Down Syndrome was also the one who could “feel” the stories and feelings behind the lost objects. I realize that people with Down Syndrome tend to be portrayed as especially in touch with feelings and emotions, so it would make sense if Sunshine could more easily read people’s emotions but her ability to read good or bad vibes from lost things felt a bit too close to the Down’s Syndrome version of a “magical negro” type of character. I don’t think Hogan meant anything by it, and probably intended to show that Sunshine was open to these vibes and not as wrapped up in herself as Laura and Freddy, thus making her more receptive to the impressions or auras left on the objects as well as the minor haunting, but I still feel like it’s a fine line.
Oh, and I still regret losing two rings at different points in time. One was a simple but sturdy sterling silver ring of a thistle that I bought at a souvenir shop in Edinburgh, and the other was white gold with a garnet stone from a jewelry store in Prague with a kind of modern and unique stone setting/cut.
Bingo Square: Cannonballer Says!