A sign of a busy month, just one lonely book finished this month, but my goodness what a book.
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss
I had high hopes for Sarah Moss’ Signs for Lost Children, having read, loved and incessantly shared far and wide, the first book in this series, Bodies of Light. I will not, on this occasion wax lyrical on that utterly beautiful book, but if you would like to read that sort of thing you can do so over at The Reader’s blog where I recommended it in my professional reader role.
But now, to Signs for Lost Children. Of course, in writing about the second book, I will betray a few spoilers about the first, so proceed with caution if you intend reading both.
I’m beginning to think that Sarah Moss may possess magical powers. While reading Bodies of Light, even during those day-to-day distractions from reading, I felt the claustrophobic gloom of the Moberley home. It was not quite oppressive but it lingered there in my peripheral view, drawing me back again and again to thoughts of the book. And again with Signs for Lost Children, even while I busied away at work or while cooking, I had the sense of a sea breeze blowing fresh against my face, as though I were on the Cornwall coast with Ally.
From my first troubled journey with Ally through Bodies of Light, I was anxious about this sequel. She’d had, to some extent, her happy ending, but the emergence of a second book confirmed that, just like in real life, Ally’s story was not over, and happy endings are only just beginnings. While Moss kept my anxieties for the character on edge throughout, I was not disappointed by this next chapter. Just as beautiful and absorbing, at times devastating, at others inspiring, Signs for Lost Children addresses an issue I’ve always considered sticky – how does an independent, professional woman adapt to the traditional trappings of wife and homemaker, particularly then, in the late 1800s, but also now in a society that still struggles to appreciate the complexities of female identity.
Another little magic spell which Moss has cast upon me, I never could have anticipated the spark of intrigue for Japan and its cultural history which this book has lit. The beauty of those Eastern scenes, the charm of the folklore intertwined with the narrative – I looked up the price of flights to Japan more than once while reading this book – you have been warned.
Part of me desperately wants to be reunited with Ally in another chapter from Moss, but in truth I’m not sure if Ally, or my heart could take it. But I could perhaps welcome a BBC adaptation if anyone can make that happen…?