On sale Feb 3, 2015
A Feb 2015 Indie Next Pick!
“A brilliant novel that redefines the boundaries of where our lives begin and where they end.” –Simon Van Booy, bestselling author of The Illusion of Separateness
On a seemingly normal morning in London, a group of people all lose something dear to them, something dear but peculiar: the front of their house, their piano keys, their sense of direction, their place of work.
Meanwhile, Jake, a young boy whose father brings him to London following his mother’s sudden death in an earthquake, finds himself strangely attracted to other people’s lost things. But little does he realize that his most valuable possession, his relationship with his dad, is slipping away from him.
This brilliant novel from debut author Janina Matthewson has received a ton of praise among indie booksellers. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for #IndieGoneAstray from your favorite bookstores—because a book like this doesn’t come around very often.
Follow Janina: @J9andIf
Behind the book with Janina Matthewson
For a long time I’ve loved the idea that the world is not quite as normal as we assume. I was raised on Narnia, and the idea that magic is hiding in ordinary places. Everyone secretly wants to discover something extraordinary – whether it’s in themselves or the world around them – something that will change their life. But in my experience, so called life changing experiences don’t really do everything they say on the tin. People just keep living, they get used to things.
When the earthquakes hit Christchurch it felt like nothing would ever be the same. And of course it isn’t the same – the city’s still chaotic, there will be constant road works for years to come, and the city center is eerily empty. But the people in it are just carrying on. Because that’s what you do. In the aftermath, it seemed to me that when extraordinary things happen to you, they can stall you, or they can motivate you, but they very rarely actually change you.
So I think that’s what was behind my writing this book. I was interested in how, in the short term we’re so easily upset, so easily knocked off course, and how quickly we can recalibrate afterwards. There’s a kind of dexterity to it, I think, how we step around things that fall in our path to simply carry on with our lives.
And I wonder sometimes if a reminder that we can do that, is all we need to enable us to do it. We get stuck because we think life is too much, that whatever has happened to us will leave us foundering forever. I think telling ourselves that we can get through is instrumental in us actually managing too – not in a gritty, determined way, necessarily, but just with gentle repetition. Getting up every day and deciding again to live with the new situation.
Books have always helped me to do this; they make you feel connected when you are at your most alone. And I’ve always gravitated to the ones that also make me feel like the world is full of secrets and magic. Susannah Clarke, Andrew Kaufman, Neil Gaiman – people who write about our world, but stranger. Because the world is strange.
That’s why I like it.