FICTION

The Book of Lost Friends

Ballantine. Apr. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781984819888. $28. F
COPY ISBN
After the Civil War, the Southern Christian Advocate, a newspaper for the African American community distributed throughout the South, included a column called “Lost Friends” that allowed individuals to advertise for information about missing loved ones, generally sold off or stolen before or during the war. That column is the inspiration for this enthralling and ultimately heartening new novel from Wingate (Before We Were Yours). Though it can take a moment to catch on, the two intertwined narratives eventually speak back and forth, with the first delivered by Hannie Gossett, a resourceful young sharecropper in 1875 Louisiana, who’s looking for her own people when she follows her former master’s imperious daughter and equally imperious mixed-race daughter (an open secret from New Orleans) as they trek to Texas to find their father and papers relating to their inheritance. The second narrator is Benny Silva, an outsider new teacher in small-town 1987 Louisiana, pushy enough to get her students involved in a project that discovers and reconstructs Hannie’s story and its wider implications for their town.
VERDICT Emphasizing throughout that stories matter and should never go untold, Wingate has written an absorbing historical for many readers.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month