The Lost: Book summary and reviews of The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn

The Lost

A Search for Six of Six Million

By Daniel Mendelsohn

The Lost
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2006,
    528 pages.

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Book Summary

The Lost begins as the story of a boy who grew up in a family haunted by the disappearance of six relatives during the Holocaust - an unmentionable subject that gripped his imagination from earliest childhood. Decades later, spurred by the discovery of a cache of desperate letters written to his grandfather in 1939 and tantalized by fragmentary tales of a terrible betrayal, Daniel Mendelsohn sets out to find the remaining eyewitnesses to his relatives' fates. That quest eventually takes him to a dozen countries on four continents, and forces him to confront the wrenching discrepancies between the histories we live and the stories we tell. And it leads him, finally, back to the small Ukrainian town where his family's story began, and where the solution to a decades-old mystery awaits him.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Critics Circle Award, 2006

Reviews

Media Reviews

[A] rich, ruminative "mythic narrative... about closeness and distance, intimacy and violence, love and death."" - PW

"While occasionally burdened with excessive detail, the book illustrates the enduring legacy of the Holocaust in contemporary Jewish life." - Library Journal

"A forceful meditation touching on loss, memory, Jewishness and the vagaries of chance in human life." - Kirkus

"Despite overlong passages and a minor gaffe here and there…this is a remarkable personal narrative—rigorous in its search for truth, at once tender and exacting." - The Washington Post

"Mendelsohn constructs an artful, looping narrative that includes elaborate digressions on such topics as the Hebrew Bible, Homeric narrative, and tensions within his own immediate family. The technique pays off..." - The New Yorker

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