What a beautiful book. I have never read Steven Carroll before, who is an Australian Miles-Franklin winner, but I am so glad I picked it off the library shelf the other day. It has been one of those books which you feel happy to read and get lost in and then terribly sad to finish.
The Lost Life is a poetic book about love and poetry. Set in the 1930’s it follows the story of a young couple seeing Miss Hale and her close friend (T.S Eliot) share an intimate moment in the garden of Burnt Norton. But Tom has a wife who is not going to let him go. It has that old-fashioned romantic voice, it is not heavy on dialogue or action but a close examination of body language. There is the interesting historical references to Tom and his poetry which has made me want to explore his life further. There was a favourite part in the book that I had to read over many times. It is a reminder of not taking things for granted:
‘We must grasp our moments as they arise, Catherine. And never, never assume that they will come back. People may come back into our lives, but not the time or the moment. And, in the end, not even the people either, for they will be changed. They will not be the same. No,’ and here the dreaminess leaves her voice and a sudden urgency enters it, ‘no, grasp your moments, Catherine, because they never come back again, and we just spend the rest of our days wishing we’d grasped them when they were there for the taking.’