The gripping and elegiac stories of eight lost books, and the mysterious circumstances behind their disappearances.
They exist as a rumour or a fading memory. They vanished from history leaving scarcely a trace, lost to fire, censorship, theft, war or deliberate destruction, yet those who seek them are convinced they will find them. This is the story of one man's quest for eight mysterious lost books.
Taking us from Florence to Regency London, the Russian Steppe to British Columbia, Giorgio van Straten unearths stories of infamy and tragedy, glimmers of hope and bitter twists of fate. There are, among others, the rediscovered masterpiece that he read but failed to save from destruction; the Hemingway novel that vanished in a suitcase at the Gare du Lyon; the memoirs of Lord Byron, burnt to avoid a scandal; the Magnum Opus of Bruno Schulz, disappeared along with its author in wartime Poland; the mythical Sylvia Plath novel that may one day become reality.
As gripping as a detective novel, as moving as an elegy, this is the tale of a love affair with the impossible, of the things that slip away from us but which, sometimes, live again in the stories we tell.
About the Author
Giorgio van Straten is director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York and one of the editors of the literature review Nuovi Argomenti. He is the author of several novels, including the prize-winning My Name A Living Memory, along with two collections of short stories. He has translated the works of authors such as Kipling, London and Stevenson and has edited several works of non-fiction.
"A nearly perfect, albeit slim, text in which to lose oneself. It is the ideal companion for a short flight or train journey. It can be read on a bus or a subway, in a café or on a park bench. It reminds us that life, and all that we leave behind, is essentially ephemeral." — World Literature Today
"In Search of Lost Books: The Forgotten Stories of Eight Mythical Volumes brings the true-life, little-known stories about books of legend that once existed, yet were burnt, torn, stolen, or simply disappeared. Here are the stories behind missing works by Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Bruno Shulz, and more. In Search of Lost Books is captivating from cover to cover, highly recommended." — Midwest Book Review
"Brilliant... a little masterpiece." - Ian Sansom, The Guardian Books of the Year
"I read it all in a single, enchanted sitting." - Bookseller Editor's Choice
"It's clear that Van Straten still searches for lost books, even as he recognises the futility of it. He likens the search to his childhood notions of the quest, to his longing to be "the hero who will be able to solve the mystery"." -- Guardian
"Fascinating… succinct and engaging." — Never Imitate(blog)
"A captivating little book." — Fine Books Magazine
"There's real variety here. It's hard not to get chills, raise smiles and be surprised by the talent on offer. Consider it a teaser trailer for some of your new favourite authors." - Hits The Fan
"Charming, curious little volume... van Straten winningly demonstrates how these books 'come back to life in us.'" -- Country Life
"Engaging... instructing and entertaining... moving." -- Shiny New Books
"Delightful and absorbing... a little gem of a collection; recommended reading for any curious bibliophile." - The National
"A private view of lost masterpieces, a particularly eloquent, lightly philosophical display of select, exceptional absences... a rewardingly, reassuringly old-fashioned quest." - Bookanista
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