Step through the door to Lost Pages and escape a life you never wanted...
On her tenth birthday, Aydee runs away from home and from her neglectful parents. At first, surviving alone on the streets is harsh, but a series of frightening, bewildering encounters with strange primordial creatures leads her to a bookshop called Lost Pages, where she steps into a fantastic, sometimes dangerous, but exciting life. Aydee grows up at the reality-hopping Lost Pages, which seems to attract a clientele that is either eccentric or desperate. She is repeatedly drawn into an eternal war between enigmatic gods and monsters, until the day she is confronted by her worst nightmare: herself.
Montreal writer Claude Lalumière is the author of the story collections Objects of Worship, Nocturnes and Other Nocturnes , and Altre persone / Other Persons and of the mosaic works The Door to Lost Pages and Venera Dreams: A Weird Entertainment. He has edited fourteen anthologies, including two Aurora Award—nominated volumes in the Tesseracts series. His first fiction – “Bestial Acts” – appeared in Interzone in 2002, and he has since published more than 100 stories; his work has been translated into French, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Serbian, Hungarian, Romanian, and Russian and adapted for stage, screen, audio, and comics.
Claude Lalumiere's The Door to Lost Pages is a short novella of interwoven stories patched together to form a fascinating and enthralling pastiche that orbits in and around a bookshop known as Lost Pages. It offers brief snippets of the worlds and mythologies housed in the mysterious bookshop and gives readers a tiny taste of the lives and souls of the people who have encountered its book lined, dog filled interior. The novella doesn't really offer a standard plot structure, though there is an overarching story to a certain extant, instead examining how the lives of everyday people are affected in startling ways by the smallest things.
I should say to start that if you are a fan of books, if you've ever willing explored the dusty corners of bookshops and libraries for no other reason than the shear joy of it, you should stop reading this and go grab a copy of The Door to Lost Pages. Likewise, if you have ever been enchanted by the interwoven mythologies with a fictional world, particularly if you've enjoyed Mythos tales so often linked by the arcane text of a certain mad arab, you should go grab a copy of The Door to Lost Pages. If, as a child, you have ever been transported by a book to somewhere else, either as an escape from something or just as an exercise of imagination, you should go grab a copy of The Door to Lost Pages.
For me the story that enchanted me the most, that resonated most deeply, was that of young Lucas. As Lucas himself says, “Looking at me now, you'd think I'd dropped form my mother's womb right onto a messy pile old, lurid paperbacks and arcane leatherbound tomes. Except in the fourth grade there was an incomplete set of an old battered encyclopedia on told of an old filing cabinet in the back of the classroom” an encyclopedia that “...hinted not only at alternate parts of the world but an altogether different way of apprehending reality.” While there is a more fantastical meaning to that in Lalumiere's novella it is also a fairly accurate description to how I feel about my earliest encounters with the written word. In Lalumiere's world books are magic, literally, and he cleverly uses children to convey that pure and unadulterated response to what is written between their pages.
If the books in The Door to Lost Pages are magic and Lost Pages is the place that collects them. It is the repository of things the world has chosen to forget (or ignore) and it exists in a nebulous state across time and worlds. Those things that it collects aren't just books, they are people too. Aydee, neglected and all but ignored by her drug addicted parents, and Lucas, a bit fey and intelligent drawn to the shadowed corners of the world, are both children who don't quite fit in the world we know. These two characters who form the foundation of the novella are in many ways themselves lost pages (in the library world the people that shelve books are sometimes called pages, a fact I found amusing and appropriate while reading this book) collected by the book store. Several times throughout the novel either Lucas or Aydee will serve as a means through which a new story is told becoming the means through which the knowledge they steward is shared with the world.
The Door to Lost Pages is 224 page love letter to books and stories. It's a book about being lost and all the varied meanings that simple word can espouse. It's about the fear of being lost in an uncaring world and about the wonder of being lost in a sea of knowledge. It is a meaty collection, despite its diminutive size, of lush imagery and stories that are by turns touching and unsettling. If you're looking for something to read that falls a bit off the beaten path you should definitely take a walk through The Door to Lost Pages.
Note: I sorry about that last line, I couldn't resist, I have self control issues. By way of apology I'll leave you with the opening lyrics to Audioslave's “Like a Stone” which The Door to Lost Pages called to mind:
“On a cold, wet afternoon in a room full of emptiness by a freeway I confess I was lost in the pages of a book full of death reading how we'll die alone and if we're good we'll lay to rest anywhere we want to go.”
I have to say I was disappointed. On NetGalley it said that it was 200 pages in paperback but my e-reader said 95. Did I get the entire story or part of it? Because to me it felt like this was unfinished. There was no time to connect with characters or even understand. Whatever this author was trying to get at he didn't get there. The writing wasn't that great either. The beginning grabbed me and had my attention but the farther I got into the story the worse it got. Especially the last chapter. It looked like something a child wrote.
The thing that upset me more than anything was the deceiving synopsis. The only thing that was mentioned was the child that we were going to be following when the story didn't seem to be about her. It was about The Lost Pages the story was about. They only put the girl in the synopsis but didn't add in the fact that there will be adult content and basically story about everyone's sex life. I don't like being deceived. I have nothing against adult books but I do have something against an adult book with a synopsis that makes you think it's about this child and her life.
Lost Pages wasn’t the only bookshop I frequented, but the books I found on its shelves were… unique. I never saw any of these books anywhere else. Bizarre Bestiaries. Dictionaries of dead, obscure languages. Maps to lands that may never have been. Essays on religions with unfamiliar names. Obscure mythologies. Accounts of wars no history teacher had ever mentioned. Such were the wares of the bookshop that fed my teenage dreams.
Claude Lalumiere’s The Door to Lost Pages is a strange meta-exercise in writing, and for the creative process of book publishing. Lalumiere uses short fiction, some of which has previously seen publication, to construct a tenuously linked novella of surreal encounters, bookended by a fourth wall-shattering dissection of the writer’s process—which, on a conceptual level, holds a mirror to the nigh-mythical Lost Pages bookstore and the dark god Yamesh-Lot, whose tendrils infect the world with fear and nightmares: one is a source for inspiration and salvation; the other is a bestial devourer of creation.
As was evident in his collection of short stories, Objects of Worship, Lalumiere writes with a delicate-yet-perfunctory sense of style, playing simple colours to high effect, as with the recurring uses of green blue and brown—life, sky, and earth respectively, representing an earthly realm apart from the heavens. The Lost Pages bookstore, a salvation metaphor for both the characters and for the avatar of the writer-as-self, as depicted in the coda, is North on a compass—a point of grounding for those who need it, for those who seek to lose themselves in the fantasies of possibility, because the admission of one’s reality as truth would be more disastrous than they’d care to accept. It’s existence is a questionable fact, appearing when it is needed most to defend against the nightmares that encroach upon the world.
The takeaway from the mythology these loosely connected tales provide is that salvation will not come with ease. It must be fought for, and an understanding between one’s desired self and a past or present more closely tethered to reality must be earned through confrontation. It absolutely cannot be won hiding from one’s nightmare vision of the truth amongst the stacks of a fantastical bookstore, no matter how tempting that may be.
As an exercise in creating a universal theme through short fiction—simultaneously crafting a book that is equal parts surrealist fiction and subjective first-person authorial examination—The Door to Lost Pages succeeds more on the merits of its structural experimentation than it does the implementation of its skin-thin fantasy that exists beneath a surface scraped raw.
First off I want to thank the publisher ChiZine Publications for letting me read this over at Netgalley. Yamesh-Lot is the dark God. Ruler of dreams. The Lost Pages the bookstore. The story evolves around a bookstore called "Lost Pages" What dreams are nightmares. Lucas the book store owner sees hallucinations just like Aydee who comes from a drug addiction home. Mother & father showed no love for her. She finds her way to an alley way. Other characters come along with the same visions of Yamesh-Lot. They have nightmares of bizarre events, visions of really strange things that seem real. Outstanding writing a story in its own league. A new favorite for me.
I enjoyed this novella more than I thought I would. It is a book of stories linked through an old book shop, The Lost Pages. The themes in each of the stories is quite apparent even though none of them have any real plot or much world building or character development. They are however filled with magical prose and imagery. They are what dreams and nightmares may be. This whole novel is reminiscent of a Catherine Valente novel, almost like an adult fairy tale. It is also probably the closest thing to an erotic novel that I ever read.
Lalumiere has crafted an art piece in this collection of short stories. RecommendedM
First published in April 2011, Claude Lalumière’s novella ‘The Door To Lost Pages’ was constructed and complied from a sprinkling of previously published segments, which once woven together, became the lucid and mesmerising offering of surreal and highly imaginative fiction that is this dreamlike tapestry of interconnecting stories.
After tolerating her drug addicted parents for ten the first ten years of her life, Aydee finally decides to run away from home. The cold concrete of the streets soon envelops her, until out of reality comes a giant lioness to offer comfort and warmth. Waking up the next day ten-year-old Aydee witnesses a battle between two winged creatures that appear outside of the vision for everyone else on the crowded inner-city pavement.
From the wounded skeleton angel, Aydee is sent in search of both help and answers to which she is directed to a mysterious bookshop known as Lost Pages. There she is given a new life, amongst the crammed and overcrowded bookshelves. And over the years that follow, she too will meet those that too come in search of answers to those questions that have always troubled them. Through the shop door will come customers from all walks of life, each baring their own story and their own demons.
Lost Pages is where the books that tell the tales of forgotten and lost histories can be found. A corner in the universe where the threads of time collide. A place with answers. A place where many eventually see their true home…
The novella begins by leaping through an open door into a mindboggling world of gods and monsters, demons and angels; all at war with one another in the chaos of dreams and multi-layered timelines. Confusing and daunting to say the very least, the reader claws through this early onslaught of godly warfare to re-emerge the other side of this short but arduous prologue in a stupefied state of disorientation.
The calming waves of a reality that appears somewhat normal to us is waiting in the next segmented section of the novella. From here a sense of slow understanding can be gradually (and rewardingly) pieced together. For with Lalumière’s delightful prose comes a fluid and instantly accepting storytelling that so effortlessly draws the reader into his dreamlike world.
Unrestricted imagination twined with the sheer enjoyment of storytelling bring together what is essentially a patchwork of tales; each one stemming from the inspiring seed that is Lost Pages. This is a book that is so unashamedly by and for book lovers. Around every corner is the fantastical escape of books. On every shelf lies another secret to be uncovered between the pages of a forgotten book. The love and passion for books and the mysteries that they hold constantly envelops the reader throughout each one of these miniature tales.
Parallel universes , multi-layered timelines and histories that contradict each other open up a whole world of magical possibilities. The limitless scope for entertaining the author’s unquestionably excitable imagination is breath-taking, if not utterly refreshing. Leave your worries at the door and walk on into the fantastical world where magic and mystery lie hand-in-hand with the beating heart of humanity and the limitless questions within the universe.
For all its easily enjoyable storytelling, ‘The Door To Lost Pages’ does shift and lightly stubble across perhaps too broad a landscape to allow the reader to remain part of the puzzle. The briefness of the novella may have driven too much of a restricting stake through the overall tale. The looseness of the individual story segments may be too untameable to be woven into a whole. However, what it lacks in its completeness, it certainly makes up for in its imaginative adventure.
This is a novella to become quickly and unconsciously lost within. Its open expanse of lovingly created passages into dreamlike stages of life, immerse the reader in the unobstructed enjoyment of storytelling. And that’s what it always seems to come back to here. The utter and unashamed enjoyment of storytelling. And that pretty much sums up the book - the sheer enjoyment of storytelling…
In truth I barely know where to start with this review so bare with me.
The Door to Lost Pages is a series of short stories that all revolve around the bookstore Lost Pages and the dark god Yamish Lot. These have apparently been published separately before and are now in one novel. I found this is to be a really cool idea and was really looking forward to seeing what fantastical world Lalumiere had created. They are surprisingly complex short stories and from the description of the novel I wasn't quite expected what I received. I was expected more fantasy based storyline but instead there is a sort of gritty realism to the novel as a whole. There are of course fantastical elements that are linked to the worlds mythology and parallel universes but it's somewhat over shadowed by the straight forward manner in which the author describes the human interactions.
I enjoyed the stories Bestial Acts, Let Evil Beware!, and Lost Girls. Mainly because these are the three that deal directly with Aydee and I enjoyed the near straight forward plot of them. But the other three stories I wasn't very fond of at all (Dregs, Dark Tendrils, and Coda). I found these to be confusing and far too blunt to be enjoyable. I can admit that this is impart my fault as I was expecting what I was giving in the first two books which follow children, but instead of that same childish fantasy I got graphic scenes of sex. I found it tad misleading. The writing of these three are choppy and confusing, and at times downright frustrating as you try to figure out exactly what is going on.The short stories also do not offer anything in the sense of a normal plot structure so don't expect to transition smoothly from one story to the next, it will not happen and it might only confuse you more.
I'm giving it a three because those stories I did enjoy were wonderfully written and hint at deeper meanings, though it may take more then one read through to pick up on them. The author clearly has talent and a vast imagination, but I feel that overall this was just not for me. I really only recommend this to those who enjoy gritty fantasy that do not necessarily have to have a plot structure. Also it's probably best if this were read by adult as it does tend to be fairly graphic at times.
The world building in the beginning of this book is insufferable and the prose is narcissistic to the point of being ridiculous but there are good moments in here and the further in you go the more rewarding the experience. The silly and long-winded art prose gets in the way of the interesting ideas and locales here. Many of the character's motivations seem abstract or nonsensical, it's hardest to empathize with the misanthropes among them and their unrealistically scathing hatred for the world around them for its daring to not accommodate their rarified tastes and lust for adventure. This comes off as cheap and forced even to an introvert who you'd think would be the perfect audience for that sort of fare. I can't even imagine how others must take it.
I have a suspicion that most of my points against this book come from it reading initially like a mockery or weird doppelgänger of my own writing from high school, sexually charged and laced with abstract imagery, strange items and monsters and places that are unhinged in time and space yet often lacking direction or cohesiveness. It is to the author's immense credit that after all this strange prejudice and distaste, I came away from this book smiling and feeling like I'd really gotten something from it. The only way to treat some of the most over-the-top prose is to laugh but laughter isn't so bad and where this book succeeds in making compelling creatures and mythologies it does so rather brilliantly. I'd recommend finding a sample of this novel's prose somewhere and reading just a sentence or two. You'll know absolutely immediately if it's for you because of the wry grin creeping across your face, if not, you'll probably grimace in disgust. It's just that kind of book I guess.
Very strange and hard to follow I'm not sure I can say I actually liked this book. It is a series of short stories that all seemed to blend together. This was quite disappointing since the first few stories were actually quite good and related to the quirky bookstore Lost Pages which I was much more interested in than some of the other stories. Not all of the stories were horrible though but the later ones do come with a caution since many of them were very sexual and erotic but not over the top. There was however a varied mix of sexual encounters that might not be suitable for younger readers.
I first picked this book because something about the book store reminded me of the Cemetery of Lost Books in Carlos Ruiz Zafon's books but then it seemed to twist into something else. Some readers might find a bit of Neil Gaiman in this author since some of it did remind me of American Gods, which I wasn't particularly fond of (and I think one of the only people who feels that way). There is a battle going on throughout the book between darkness and light, nightmares and good dreams, Angels and Demons but its all sort of vague and the Lost Pages bookstore is at the center of it. I would say if your a Gaiman fan you might really enjoy this book.
Wanting to explore lesser known fantasy authors, I found this book at my local library. The blurb intrigued me enough to think it might be worth investing a small fraction of my -currently very available- time into. I decided to search it on goodreads and the first thing that caught my eye was the list "books that no one should read" ha. trying not to be too put off by that I borrowed it anyway. I managed to go through it in one sitting. but only just managed to finish. Lalumiere (what a nice name) keeps you wanting to know more and more only to completely repulse you and feel as if you've just wasted the last 5 minutes of your life reading utter bland amateur bullshit. and then out of nowhere he breaks out into beautiful poetic prose, just to return to the bland drawl. I felt like I was on a roller coaster I would preferred to have avoided. I hated and enjoyed this book - at some points simultaneously. The idea and theme of the book was intriguing enough to continue. the characters, the language, the structure (only some of it) really failed to please. I can see why some people might like it. It was not for me.
Strange book. The Door to Lost Pages is a handful of previously published stories (one of which I recognized because I had read it in Interzone). Based on that story I would have never bought this one, but it was a unexpected gift. Since it is just a very small booklet, it was an extremely quick read despite 200+ pages and I finished it against my better judgement and inner resentment a quarter of the way into it. As a mass market paperback with small print this would come in under 30 pages. What good is there to say? The cover design is simply beautiful, especially the unusual use of varnish. (Seriously!) The contents ... there are some nice scenes I guess, but all in all I have little good to say, so I won't elaborate. Verdict: Definitely not recommended.
Me: Reading about hard cocks and hot sex (and sometimes nightmarish sex). Thinking: But what about the books?!? When do I get to go back to that awesomely mysterious shop crammed with dogs and old books about older gods and unknown worlds??
I've had this sitting on my e-reader for a while (an original Kindle!) and I thought I'd give it a shot. I haven't read Lalumiere's work before, so I was excited. He's definitely got a very cool style.
Hanging around 200 pages, this novella is a great, quick read. I wish had I invested longer periods of time to read more segments, or the whole thing, all at once. Each of the five sections tells a different side of the story, and brings a new twist on the patrons and employees of the Lost Pages Book Store. We also dive into other-worldly beings and gods that battle over the power of human nightmares. With centuries of magical and mythical information in languages many couldn't read, the Lost Pages tomes seem to have everything odd and fantastical that the characters need.
As someone who is drawn to bookstores and marvels at the many possibilities within all of the pages and adventures to go on, this story had me gleefully hooked. Aydee is a broken soul, both saved and not saved by the shift in realities presented. I was rooting for her, and for all of the other characters who helped her along the way. I wanted to go to this shop and sit on the floor, going through all of the bizarre pages Lalumiere describes, and shoo away the dogs. LOL! I looked forward to seeing what each of the five sections would bring, and what kind of new character would be interacting with Aydee as well. Descriptions of Montreal, characters, and settings were vivid throughout, and the story never lagged.
But I hate to say that I did not enjoy the Coda. I was happy with the five parts of the story. I do appreciate what he tried to do in this extra ending section, bringing himself and some of his reality into the picture, but I was pulled out of the fantasy. Furthermore, I know the names of the publishers he mentions, they are not fictional, so I couldn't even pretend he was putting himself into the fictional world he'd created, despite the efforts to add the house/building across the street. It just didn't gel for me.
With that said, I do recommend this story to you. You may love the ending/Coda more than I did, I hope you do. I am definitely interested in reading more of Lalumiere's work.
[I am not hiding this review due to spoilers, as these are some aspects that I would have liked to be warned of]
I wanted to give this a higher rating, but I'm conflicted. I did like it, and love the concept, but I wanted more of Lost Pages, and less of the intense sex - there is so much... at times it was triggering as on at least one occasion it was rape. It was a darker story than I was hoping for, and occasionally disgusting, which was disappointing.
I liked how the stories connected, but because they were written separately they seemed disjointed and jarring at times. (As I realize this review is becoming... my mind is all over the place after this book)
I was hoping for a magical story, and it is, but I was looking for a world I wanted to dive into - some positive escapism with less of the dark. I do wish this book was longer, focusing more on the aspects that I really liked and want to explore more of - the mythology, and reality-hopping Lost Pages - as I'm left slightly unsatisfied as it is.
To be fair I may have liked this more if I had different expectations. This book has sat on my shelf for a long time, waiting until I was finished reading my mountain of never-ending library books, so I had time to expect a story written exactly how I wanted it to be. Which is not fair, I know, and probably means I need to write the story exactly for me (or reread The Starless Sea)
In hindsight, this may not have been the best time for me to read this book.
Anyway, this book is weird but good, dark and disturbing yet dreamy. Lost Pages is a refuge for the broken dreamers.
Oh please! This book gave me nightmare (not really). But seriously?...
The worst book I have ever read in my life. No! I have no desire to write a long review about this. It disgusted my choice. At first it was quite good or say promissing but then it seems as if the story now truly lost in itself. Didn't get the Continuance of the story at all. & those dialouge engaged with erotic content make me sick to my mind...
Almost as much erotica as dark fantasy. Along with some clichéd plotting there are good ideas which get lost or undeveloped in this short, ramshackle novel, assembled out of previously published stories. Quite a disappointment after the unfettered imaginativeness of Objects of Desire, but fluently written and never dull.
I was so engaged with the beginning, the intertwining plots... and then somewhere near the middle I just had to put it down. I was skipping huge chunks, I had no interest in the plot or characters, there was no grounding... a pity, as it might have been an interesting story.