Book Reviews

Not Lost – A Story about Leaving Home – Sarah Maria Griffin – Book Review

Not Lost

Not lost is an unusual body of work from poet, journalist and sometimes novelist Sarah Maria Griffin. It takes us from the weeks before she left Dublin to the new world she encounters on arrival in San Francisco and the slow adjustment to her new environment.

This is not a linear narrative, but instead is a number of short pieces linked together by the common theme of exploring the new world. There is a restaurant where she decides that the staff must know her, and ask if she wants ‘the usual’, her manic cat that aims to destroy the apartment each morning at dawn, new fruits, foods, and of course the people she encounters along the way. Sarah is in her mid 20’s and very much speaks from the perspective of her generation, with hipster dreams of life style blogs and facebook updates frequently being mentioned. She is part of the skype generation and seems in constant communication with her Mum, despite being 5,000 miles from home. The later sections of the book deals with her wedding in Disneyland and a post script of a road trip to Portland; another new world.

The style of the novel means you change from one topic to another quickly. You never quite manage to capture the totality of what life was life for her, only images and ideas on a variety of topics.

She arrives in San Francisco to meet her boyfriend CB, who has a visa to work in computing in Silicon Valley. She is on an internship visa which allows her to take unpaid work for a year, but the battle to convince someone to take giver her unpaid labour is easier than it sounds. The book gives a you an innocent perspective on the world, which is unusual to hear. She talks about being afraid to do every day events, like trying to buy a hair dryer, and is constantly trying to hide her Irish accent, and wants to be taken as a local in this super hip world.

It is obvious that she is skilled in different styles of writing, as the prose is rich and lush, and would remind you of poetry, which she has also published. It is very humorous at times and there are some wonderful images and ideas within its pages. She carries her naive, open and awe struck view of the world, an innocent young Irish woman that has to become very grown up in a short space of time. It’s lovely to hear the voice of a generation that rarely speaks, other than in 140 characters.

Not Lost – A Story about Leaving Home by Sarah Maria Griffin is available from New Island Publishers.

You can find a short piece by Sarah in the Irish Times here. ‘Five things Irish Emigrants should bring home this Christmas’.

Sarah is on Tumblr here.

Review by Morgan


Categories: Book Reviews, Books

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