Lost and Wanted

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Put simply Lost and Wanted is a tour-de-force.   Freudenberger brings her characters to life amidst descriptions of some fundamentals and new discoveries in physics: black holes, black matter, gravitational waves all make appropriate appearances in advancing the story  Rather than losing her physics-ignorant readers in this scientific discourse, Freudenberger educates in ways that provide understanding of the physics component, while making  it an important character and key to understanding the complex relationships of her other main characters, all of whom come to life in her capable hands.  Not everything that happens can be explained by physics, or any other worldly activity, and it is that element that provides mysteries that can only be understood by the various types of love that bind us to each other.  I am not as familiar with Boston and its environs as some other reviewers, but while I cannot comment reliably on the author’s descriptions of those settings I am much more familiar with major research universities,  Here, Freudenberger provides readers not just with accurate descriptions but with a deep sense of what it takes to rise to and remain at the top of one’s research area while tending to the many activities involved in supporting graduate students and the drudgery of academic citizenship.  I am most grateful for the opportunity to have read an ARC of those marvelous book.
Was this review helpful?
A weave of sorrow flows when a friend, daughter, wife and mother dies. From that sorrow grows a child trying to reach out to her mother, another child struggling with his own sense of loss and a friend who is both scientist and human experiencing grief through memories and current reality. 

Heavy on the physics, but the story is there.
Was this review helpful?
This is a quiet and marvelous book about grief, friendship, and motherhood, as seen through the lens of a physicist. As someone who lives in Cambridge, I was also impressed at how real the sense of place felt.
Was this review helpful?
I have been a fan of Nell Freudenberger for a long time. I first read and loved her short story collection "Lucky Girls" many years ago ! This novel has her signature low key, intimate prose style, but this time it is interwoven with many scientific facts and explanations, as her main character is a scientist. 
I did struggle with the science a bit, it took me out of the story as my mind glazed over. This is definitely a unique to me kind of problem and not something that everyone will take issue with.
Was this review helpful?
I was intimidated by this book when I saw it incorporated physics into the body of the story. I finally picked it up....then I could not put it down.  This is the story of the brilliant physicist, Helen, who loses her beloved best friend Charlie., and at the same time must deal with the reappearance of her former partner Neel. 

Helen is involved in physics research, but her world of strict belief in empirical reason is blurred when she gets a series of mysterious messages from her dead friend. She is faced with unfurling the origin of the messages while trying to help Charlie’s husband and daughter through their mourning. 

Each character is very well developed and their inter-relationships make sense. The author has an especially lovely and perceptive way of describing the children, SImmi and Jack, as Helen wades through an intense period of personal re-evaluation. 

The author manages to blend physics, motherhood and friendship into an amazing novel sprinkled with physics research. I know now that reading this was both tremendously engrossing and preparation for future trivia games. 

I loved THE NEWLYWEDS and am so pleased I had the opportunity to read this very unusual novel by Freudenberger.
Was this review helpful?
For the first three-quarters of this book, if I hadn't known better, I would have thought I was reading a memoir. 

That's partly because I'm very familiar with its primary settings (Cambridge and Brookline) and the categories to which some of its characters belong (professors, single mothers, Harvard alumni). But it's also partly because the mention of ghosts on the very first page set me up for something other than straightforward realism, and yet the story was perfectly realistic. 

I'd be curious to get a physicist's take on the science, which didn't have much of an impact on me one way or another.  

Also, in skimming some of the reviews from other early readers, I don't see much on the topic of race. The book is not ABOUT race, but it certainly explores how race functions in the relationship between Helen and Charlie. I think Freudenberger could have done more with how their college friendship may have been different in one of today's undergraduate environments, especially since Helen is clearly still in touch with campus politics. And more on how race functions in the relationship between Jack and Simmi. But generally (for what it's worth), this white female thinks the white female author in question handled her white female character's racial awareness pretty well.
Was this review helpful?
I had the opportunity to download and read "Lost and Wanted" for a while before I actually did so. I'm not sure why I hesitated--the math/physics slant? The old college pals aspect?

Oh, silly me! This novel is masterful, immediately enfolding you in its world.. The physics piece is fascinating, and the friendship between physics star Helen and her elegant, equally brainy roommate Charlie is warm and believable,  Helen is heartbroken to learn of Charlie's death from Lupus, and alarmed when she receives texts that seem to come from Charlie soon after learning of her death. You feel her irrational hope that maybe her friend really is alive, or able to reach out to her in some way. And, yes, physics has delved into that possibility.

'In the first few months after Charlie died, I began hearing from her much more frequently,' the novel begins. I was enchanted from start to finish.
Was this review helpful?