"Mauk writes in a smooth and stirring prose which brings the horror of grief and resentment acutely near...A sensitive portrayal—psychologically powerful but never overplayed, deftly conveying the human truth that not everything turns out OK."-- Kirkus Reviews
Set against a layered Manhattan landscape, The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things explores a fractured family through the alternating perspectives of the mother, father, and brother of a young woman during the aftermath of her disappearance. A year of silent but collective anguish culminates in the fateful thirty hours after a body with a striking resemblance to hers is found, and we see her buttoned-up Upper West Side family spiral in different, dangerous directions: Her mother, Carol, nearly comatose by day, comes alive at night in a vigilante-like attempt to track down her daughter’s killer. Her brother, Ben, once the “good kid,” adopts her bad habits along with her former friends who may have been complicit in her death. And after failing to keep his family from splitting apart, her seemingly stoic father, Drew, finally allows himself to crack.
“Can we ever let our children go? That’s the question that Courtney Elizabeth Mauk asks in her riveting novel The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things. Heartbreaking in its close observation of how each person’s grief is a world unto itself, Mauk’s novel plunges us into loss but also reveals—in tense, evocative prose—the ways grief connects us through its filaments of need. We learn what it’s like to miss something so intensely—through fragments of past conversations that mingle with the present and, in one exquisitely drawn scene, through the brushing of an absent daughter’s hair—that we can almost cross that thin, forbidden membrane that separates the living and the dead.”— Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small
“A wise, moving, and suspenseful tale of a New York family struggling to cope in the aftermath of trauma, The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things reveals chilling complexities of maternal love and parental loss.”— Helen Klein Ross, author of What Was Mine
“The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things deftly examines the emotional and psychological repercussions for a family left behind by a disappeared daughter. Courtney Elizabeth Mauk paints a powerful portrait of grief, dread, distrust, and—ultimately—redemption as mother, father, and brother try to make sense of a bereft world.”— Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of June and New York Times bestseller Bittersweet
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