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Lost and Wanted

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  4,897 ratings  ·  804 reviews
'In the first few months after Charlie died, I began hearing from her much more frequently.'

Helen Clapp is a physics professor. She doesn't believe in pseudo-science, or time travel and especially not in ghosts. So when she gets a missed call from Charlie, her closest friend from university with whom she hasn't spoken in over a year, Helen thinks there must be some mistake
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,897 ratings  ·  804 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Audiobook... narrated by Ann Marie Lee.

The beginning of this book was like fireworks that starts with a bang...then fizzles down fast to a warm heat.

“In the first few months after Charlie died, I began hearing from her much more frequently”, is the opening sentence.

I was anxious to get some more details and answers about that first sentence....but it’s a long time coming.
We don’t really feel it’s power until the end of the book.
But the storytelling takes off ....and ‘mostly’ I enjoyed the ri
Jessica Woodbury
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, best-2019-arcs
Physics is about the study of forces, our protagonist Helen tells us in this book. More than anything else, this book is about the power of the forces we exert upon one another that can last long after a person is actually gone.

We have a tendency to think of science as certainty, as things that are known and set and certain. But if you're looking at modern physics, it's not like that at all. There's so much we cannot see, the giant but invisible effects of gravity with massive bodies like plane
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Siobhan Jones

Before we get into everything that makes this book so great, our editorial team wants to be clear on one thing: Lost and Wanted is a very challenging, occasionally slow-going literary work that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s also quite brilliant but, well, you’ve been warned.

The story follows Helen Clapp, a physicist and single mom whose work on astrophysics has garnered her tenure at MIT, a handful of book deals, and … perhaps fewer close relationships than sh
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very slow and also nearly perfect. If you are looking for action and convoluted plotting this is not the book for you. Or if reading about the Math minded or science nerd thought patterns can't be categorized in your own "exciting"? Then I would give this one a wide pass.

This book is simply the best woman to woman friendship capture that I've read in many years. Helen and Charlie- I will remember you. Also the most unique "eyes" female entwined book since Mathematician's Shiva. Complications of
lucky little cat
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to lucky little cat by: Entertainment Weekly Book Reviews
Elegant and knowing. Will gently lead you to root for the existence of ghosts.

When I call you up your line's engaged

This is that rare non-depressing book about grief-stricken characters. The writing is uniformly excellent, the characters are people worth knowing.

The novel's narrator, Helen, reminded me of the speaker of Irving's Prayer for Owen Meany (who dismisses his own role in the narrative as "just a Joseph.") Both are reserved, self-deprecating, mourning the loss of a
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was SLOW, drawn out and seemingly didn't have a plot. There is way too much science in the book to the point where I started skimming over large chunks because I don't have a PhD in physics and you need one to understand this (ironically, though, the main character Helen supposedly writes books to make physics understandable for the average person).

There was no plot, and trying to get through over 300 plot-less pages is just brutal. The character interactions were interesting, but they
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
[4+] Most of the action in this book happens in Helen's head, so I can see why some reviewers call it slow. I couldn't put it down. Helen is one of the most fascinating, complex characters I've encountered in fiction. She is a mother, a scientist, a grieving friend. She has chosen her life as a single mother, yet yearns for connections. Along with Helen, I felt the world opening for me as I turned the pages. This is an expansive, profound novel.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this because it sounded like a story about surviving a loss. It is that, and it was well-written. But it felt a little like watching someone's home movie while they explain what you're seeing. Nothing really interesting happens most of the time and when it did I was kind of unimpressed.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I think I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did, but that's not to say I disliked it.

This is not a ghost story so it's best to prepare yourself for that going in. Instead, it is a tale about loss and grief. Helen Clopp is an intelligent Physics professor and a solo mother by choice to the delightfully wonderful Jack. She is very, very scientifically minded which is crucial as to how she perceiv
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
While I applaud an English major taking on PhD level physics as a topic for her character, I absolutely hated this book. As a pretty high level scientist myself, the science bits were fine… But just a big fat boring ass book about grief? No thanks. I made it to about page 100 and just gave up on it. Not my thing. Baffled with black holes, expanding infinity, and the god particle did not make me like the character or think more of her. I actually didn’t like her at all. I think the science was a ...more
Anne Bogel
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rounded up from 3.5 stars.

I enjoy the genre sometimes dubbed fi-sci: fiction steeped in the world of science, and Freudenberger's new release takes place largely in the theoretical physics department of MIT. Helen is a physicist whose professional life is on track: her work on five-dimensional spacetime and black holes has earned her worldwide acclaim. But her personal life is thrown into disarray when she receives word that her best friend has unexpectedly died.

I especially enjoyed the subtly
Josiah Hawkins
There are very few instances in my life where I have supported someone’s claim to false advertising. Whenever I’ve heard someone make a claim about a book or a movie or a game being false in the way that it was sold or marketed I generally lean more towards the notion that it didn’t live up to the expectations that that person placed upon it rather than some sort of foul play being the cause for disappointment. That being said, I have a strong feeling towards a claim that Lost and Wanted was mis ...more
After Helen's sort-of-former best friend, Charlie, dies, Helen receives a text message -- from Charlie's phone. Then the messages continue, not with any regularity, but often enough to keep Helen confused and off-balance. Meanwhile, Charlie's husband, Terence, moves into Helen's basement apartment with his 8-year-old daughter, who gets along well with Helen's 7-year-old son. And life goes on ... both predictably and not-so-predictably.
I really enjoyed this book, even though really, nothing
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Helen knows everything about physics; Helen knows nothing about human relationships. Not that she hasn't had a few in her life...there's Neel Jonnal, a fellow physicist and a college boyfriend...her young son, Jack, who she conceived after giving up on finding a life partner...and, maybe the strongest and longest relationship of her life, Charlie Boyce, her college roommate. It is only when Charlie dies and Helen begins receiving text messages from her old friend that Helen begins to contemplate ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5, rounded up

Slow going for me, particularly in the beginning. I wasn’t connecting and even set the novel aside for several days uncertain whether I would return to it. I obviously did, although, for me, it remained a slow go until well into the novel. Still, I am glad I stuck with it. Freudenberger is an immensely talented writer and Lost and Wanted is a smart and - I’m stealing from Ben Fountain’s jacket burb- ‘brainy’ read (the main character is a physics professor after all.) Freudenberger
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
SPOILERS (and other things) below; I'm not sure that I can usefully review this book without them, so you'll just have to deal.


I have a lot of thoughts about this book, which is usually a good thing. (For the sake of contrast, I have no thoughts about books by Dan Brown.) In this case, though, I think that the multiplicity of my thoughts relates to the somewhat scattered nature of the book, which is not ideal.

For example, the main plotline of the book, insofar as it has one, feels like it take
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Two and a half stars would have more accurately described my rating for this novel. Unfortunately this book is so heavy into physics that you lose the humanity of the story. It would have been a great story about loss, even questioning if people are "gone" when they die but it gets far to technical for the average reader. I was left many times throughout the book wondering why I needed to know so many facts - so much so that it felt like a science book pretending to be fiction. It was like the a ...more
Karen Brown
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I hesitate to write anything so soon after finishing this novel--I started it in the morning and finished it last night, and I'm still lost in the world of the book, still looking back and seeing scenes again. Still wondering about the characters and the physics. But LOST AND WANTED is such a beautifully written book that I wanted to be sure I responded to it in some way. Friendships are complicated, and Freudenberger shows us the way they fade in and out through the years. This is a book about ...more
Lex Poot
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved the science in the book. Also the themes are good. Women in science. Women of color and how hard it is to make a career. Sexual harassment. Only thing that I thought was that the protagonist Charly remained somewhat of a cardboard cut out until late in the book. I think it would be interesting to have a follow up about the relationships between her and Helen from her perspective.

Caveat: I won the book with Goodreads Giveaway.
Nenia ⭐️ Queen of Awkward ⭐️ Campbell
*slams hand on the table*


Kathleen Flynn
I found so much to admire about this novel, yet it left me feeling a little flat in the end and I am trying to work out why.

In some respects I am reminded of Come With Me, another recent novel I read recently using science and technology as a way to talk about love and friendship, roads not taken, etc. Lost and Wanted has a lot more science, however, and for me at least is a more affecting story. There is a great deal about physics and the life of an academic, but also about the routines of bei
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't even know if I'm ready to talk about this book because I just finished it last night and I'm still feeling too bereft. It was the kind of book where you thought about the characters even when you weren't reading, and now that I'm finished I still can't stop thinking about them. Heartbreaking and poignant and funny all at the same time–I highly recommend it.
Kim Markett
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Too many details not enough plot.
I do not recommend.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the great books of the year, and the subject matter is so timely, read it right on the heels of the pictures of an actual black hole, discovered by a female MIT physicist. What research must have been involved in the writing! This is right up there with the best of Donna Tartt, Kate Atkinson, and Hilary Mantel and every male writer who's ever tried to write a book.

I kept thinking that sooner or later I'd get bored with all the theoretical physics, but instead I learned so much. An
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary, botm, 2019
This novel seemed so compelling when it was featured as one of the BOTM selections. It was billed as literary fiction, but also appeared to include possible time travel and/or supernatural elements, and I was really drawn to it. In fact, both my sister and I were intrigued and chose it for our monthly selection. Unfortunately, while this novel’s premise is interesting and engaging, the delivery does not live up to this.

In terms of positives, I’d say the novel is well-written. The language is lo
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Helen and Charlie became friends at Harvard. It was one of those friendships that had a natural intimacy to it. Time and distance didn't lessen that, they just took different places in each other's lives. Charlie calls Helen one day, by the time Helen picks up there is an emptiness on the line. Was it a pocket dial or did Charlie change her mind about the conversation? The next day Helen receives a call from Charlie's husband informing her that Charlie died two days ago, the day before Helen rec ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
intelligent and interesting. the protagonist in this novel is helen clapp, an accomplished physicist and professor at MIT. she is a single mother of a seven year old boy, jack, living in boston. the story begins with the death of her old friend and former room-mate at harvard, charlie. they had not been in close contact over the last few years, charlie being a staff writer in hollywood and living in L.A. with Terrence, her husband, a surfer - and Simona (Simmi), their eight-years old daughter. b ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Helen is a scientist whose work has earned her tenured professorship and a status as a great physicist. But her world is turned to grief when she finds out a close friend of hers has died. Helen finds herself gravitating back towards her friend Charlie's life, and starts questioning all that she believes when she receives a mysterious text from Charlie. Just what is happening?

So that's a short version of what is used to market this book, and I was a little disappointed to find that this book cle
Rachel Rooney
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, fiction, 2019
In Lost and Wanted, physicist Helen Clapp's best friend has died, but she is still receiving messages from her. Meanwhile Helen's husband and daughter move from California to Boston, and Helen and her son become close with them. Helen's ex-boyfriend's scientific research team makes a huge discovery. He also is moving back to Boston, and he has other news. Somehow Nell Freudenberger ties this all together into a lovely package with some non-intimidating physics thrown in that explains the forces ...more
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Book of The Month: Lost and Wanted 4 43 Apr 22, 2019 03:22PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add description - "Lost and Wanted" by Nell Freudenberger 2 18 Dec 31, 2018 11:31AM  

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Nell Freudenberger is the author of the novel The Dissident and the story collection Lucky Girls, winner of the PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; both books were New York Times Book Review Notables. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship from the New York Publi ...more

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