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Lost and Wanted

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,890 ratings  ·  510 reviews
An emotionally engaging, suspenseful new novel from the best-selling author, told in the voice of a renowned physicist: an exploration of female friendship, romantic love, and parenthood--bonds that show their power in surprising ways.

Helen Clapp's breakthrough work on black holes in five-dimensional spacetime landed her a tenured professorship at MIT; her popular books ex
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Knopf
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3.52  · 
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 ·  2,890 ratings  ·  510 reviews

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Elyse Walters
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-2019-arcs, arc
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 hero and a
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, fiction, arcs, netgalley
*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
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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 ha
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lex Poot
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Karen Brown
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Kim Markett
Too many details not enough plot.
I do not recommend.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book hit me just at the right time. I started reading it right after my mom died, and I was concurrently reading books about quantum physics and its history (including What Is Real). I was worried this book would hit too close to home, but instead I loved the story presented, and especially how the science was included (although I still can't tell what was real or not here). The discussion of race was incorporated well and wasn't heavy handed.
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that manages to be at once dreamlike and grounded in reality in its exploration of grieving and the prolonged connections between people. Despite the focus on science - and there’s a bunch of that, to be sure - nothing related to character is exactly pat or as you’d expect. The main character Helen is a single mother by choice, and it’s interesting to see her reflections on how that affects her son, Jake. They stand in contrast to her deceased friend Charlie’s daughter Simmi, and Charlie’ ...more
Rachel Rooney
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2019, audiobook
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
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost returned this to the library without reading it but I am glad I took a chance on it. It is a character driven novel that starts as a ghost story and turns into so much more.

Helen is a MIT professor of physics. She is also a single mother by choice. Her best friend from Harvard, Charlie, dies. Helen begins receiving mysterious text messages and emails from Charlie soon after she dies.

Charlie's husband and daughter move back to Boston to be close to family and they develop a close friends
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, this isn't going to be for everyone, so when I give this a 5 star, it was a 5 star for me personally. There's a lot of science talk here, which might not be for everyone, but even as a non-scientist I still found it interesting. What it's really about it grief--how the death of one person affects all the people around that person. There's also a lot about parenting in here, particularly solo parenting, and also about what's needed to create a satisfying life--is it love between people, or pa ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot of science in this book -- true -- but if you have an interest in popular science, then you will appreciate it. I learned more about Higgs Boson and physics and forces, etc. But this novel is so much more than that. It''s about lifelong friendships, and grief, memories, family. The main protagonist, Helen, had such a scientific mind that had no room for religion and belief in the afterlife, and yet.... Anyway, I really loved this. I couldn't put it down and carved out times to read ...more
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Book of The Month: Lost and Wanted 4 34 Apr 22, 2019 03:22PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add description - "Lost and Wanted" by Nell Freudenberger 2 16 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
“We now know that our universe is almost certainly 13.77 billion years old, and that it expanded more than a trillion trillion times in the first trillionth of a trillionth of a second of its life.” 1 likes
“One clue is that in pseudoscience, every piece fits neatly inside a theory and the scientist is never wrong.” 0 likes
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