All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Book Of Lost Threads – Tess Evans

on February 23, 2014

Book of Lost ThreadsBook Of Lost Threads
Tess Evans
Allan & Unwin
2010, 350p
Read for my book club

Miranda Ophelia Sinclair – known as Moss – has run away from Melbourne to the small town of Opportunity in country Victoria. She is searching for a man she knows nothing about – just his name, his address and the fact that he’s important to her. She needs to find him, get to know him and get some answers about herself and the past.

Michael Finbar Clancy – known as Finn – also ran away many years ago after a tragic event. He hides away in Opportunity, working from home and keeping to himself and occasionally going ‘bush’, camping with just his thoughts for company. When Moss turns up on his doorstep he’s uncomfortable and his first thought is that he can’t really help her and it’d be better if she left. But Moss needs answers and Finn can provide them, even though he’s not sure how satisfying they will be. He finds himself becoming used to Moss, even fond of her, so much so that he makes arrangements for her to stay as long as she likes. She can’t stay in his small house but she can stay next door with his reclusive neighbour, Mrs Lily Pargetter. Through Mrs Pargetta, Moss also meets her nephew Sandy who plans to build a Great Galah unaware of just how much it makes him a laughing stock and honours a man who doesn’t deserve it.

Through Moss’s arrival and her search for truth, Finn, Mrs Pargetter and Sandy all find themselves examining their own pasts, their own stories as they develop the threads of unlikely friendships.

This is my book club’s first read for the year – normally I am reading the book the day of the meeting for two reasons. 1) So that it stays fresh in my mind when we discuss it and 2) because I’ve had so many other things to read that I’ve only been able to cram it in at the last moment. However this month I found myself with a gap and no commitments and so I decided to read this one early. Already two people from my book club had read it and really liked it and that seemed a good recommendation. I wasn’t expecting how much I enjoyed it, even with that.

Moss is seeking the answers behind her unusual conception, perhaps feeling a bit lost and lacking in identity. Finn is hiding away from the world, suffering in guilt for something that happened in his past. There’s such an authenticity to their stumbling attempts to get to know each other, for Moss asking the right questions and for Finn, trying to provide the answers that she wants. Finn shares a little of his own story with her and Moss immediately wants to help him get some closure regarding it. In a way, all of the main characters in this story, Moss, Finn, Mrs Pargetter and Sandy and later on in the book even Ana, are seeking closure.

I think the story of Finn’s next door neighbour, Mrs Lily Pargetter, touched me the most. And by that, I mean there were times as her backstory was explained, where I was crying. I cannot imagine the devastation she experienced at a young age, losing the two people that would’ve filled her life in the same week and then being committed to a mental asylum and treated in various ways including shock therapy in order to “cure” her of her melancholy. Eventually she was released after the death of her father and went on to live a mostly solitary life knitting tea cosies which she then sent to the United Nations for distribution.

When I first read that part of the story, I thought it might be a bit silly but as it went on, I actually found it became really charming, especially as each successive work experience intern at the United Nations continued to receive the tea cosies and think of things to do with them as well as acknowledging Mrs Pargetta’s contribution and the way in which she is later honoured by the organisation had me reaching for my tissues again! There was something about this whole story that was just so engaging, the characters were really warm and believable – even blustering Sandy and the character growth he undergoes throughout the latter half of the story.

Even though there were parts that were breathtakingly sad in this book and made me cry, the overall feel is one of warmth and comfort as the characters form those friendships and look at helping each other heal from the tragedies they’ve experienced in their lives. The ending is so beautifully done, not overly sweet and saccharine but very emotional and cathartic as well, not just for the characters in the story but also for me as the one reading it!

I really enjoyed this book and thought the writing was very well done. All of the little extras and offshoots that seemed a bit random at times all came together wonderfully well at the end. I’ve heard good things about Tess Evans’s second novel, The Memory Tree and I’m looking forward to trying that one and hopefully experiencing the same sort of beautiful and engaging story that keeps me hooked all the way through. I am looking forward to discussing this one with my book club.


Book #44 of 2014



Book Of Lost Threads is the 15th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

One response to “Review: Book Of Lost Threads – Tess Evans

  1. Marg says:

    Told you that it was good! I haven’t heard much about The Memory Tree but purely based on this book I am looking forward to it!

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