Title: In Search of Lost Books
Author: Giorgio van Straten
Hardback: ISBN: 9781782273721, £12.99, $22
Imprint: London: Pushkin Press, 2017
This is a journey in search of the traces of eight legendary lost books. The clues are fragile, the hope of finding these pages scarce. Yet, maybe, somewhere, they still exist…
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.