BROOKE DAVIS Lost & Found

ISBN 13: 9780099592297

Lost & Found

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9780099592297: Lost & Found

The #1 international bestselling debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens along the way

Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie's father, leaves her in the big ladies' underwear department of a local store and never returns. United at this fateful moment with two octogenarians seekers, she embarks with them upon a road trip to find Millie's mother. Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.

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About the Author:

Brooke Davis grew up in rural Australia, has lived in Halifax, Canada, and Florida, USA, and now lives in Perth, Australia, where she works as a bookseller. In 2015, Lost & Found won the iBooks Fiction Book of the Year and two Australian Book Industry Awards; Fiction Book of the Year and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer. Lost & Found is her first novel and will be published in twenty-seven countries.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

Copyright © 2015 Brooke Davis 


millie bird


Millie’s dog, Rambo, was her Very First Dead Thing. She found him by the sideof the road on a morning when the sky seemed to be falling, fog circling hisbroken shape like a ghost. His jaw and eyes were wide open, as if mid-bark. Hisleft hind leg pointed in a direction it normally didn’t. The fog lifted aroundthem, the clouds gathered in the sky, and she wondered if he was turning intorain.

It was only when she dragged Rambo up to the house in herschoolbag that her mother thought to tell her how the world worked.

He’s gone to a better place, her mother shouted at herwhile vacuuming the lounge room.

A better place?

What? Yes, heaven, love,haven’t you heard of it? Don’t they teach you anything in that bloody school?Lift your legs! It’s doggy heaven, where there’s eternal dog biscuits and theycan poop wherever they please. Okay, legs down. I said, legs down! And theypoop, I don’t know, dog biscuits, so all they do is poop and eat dog biscuits,and run around and eat the other dogs’ poop. Which are actually dog biscuits.

Millie took a moment.Why would they waste time here, then?

What? Well, they, um, have toearn it. They have to stay here until they get voted over to a better place.Like doggySurvivor.

So, is Rambo on anotherplanet?

Well, yes. Sort of. Imean—you really haven’t heard of heaven? How God sits up in the clouds andSatan’s all underground and everything?

Can I get to Rambo’s newplanet?

Her mother switched off the vacuum cleaner and lookedsquarely at Millie. Only if you have aspaceship. Do you have a spaceship?

Millie looked at her feet. No.

Well, you can’t get toRambo’s new planet then.

Days later, Millie discovered that Rambo was most definitelynot on a new planet and was, in fact, in their backyard, buried halfheartedlyunder the Sunday Times. Milliecarefully lifted the newspaper and saw Rambo but not-Rambo; a Rambo shrunkenand eaten and wasting away. She snuck out every night from then on, to be withhim while his body went from something into nothing.

The old man crossing the road had been her Second DeadThing. After the car hit him, she watched him fly through the air and thoughtshe saw him smile. His hat landed on top of the yield sign and his walkingstick danced around the lamppost. And then it had been his body, crackingagainst the curb. She pushed her way through all the legs and exclamation marksto kneel beside his face. She looked deeply into his eyes. He looked back ather like he was only a drawing. She ran her fingers over his wrinkles andwondered what he’d used each one for.

She was then lifted away from him and told to cover hereyes, because she was just a child.And as she wandered home the long way, she thought it might be time to ask herdad about people heaven.

You see, Squirt, there’sheaven, and then there’s hell. Hell is where they send all the bad people, likecriminals and con artists and parking inspectors. And heaven is where they sendall the good people, like you and me and that nice blonde from MasterChef.

What happens when you get there?

In heaven, you hang out withGod and Jimi Hendrix, and you get to eat doughnuts whenever you want. In hell,you have to, uh . . . do the Macarena. Forever. To that “Grease Megamix.”

Where do you go if you’regood and bad?

What? I don’t know. IKEA?

Will you help me make aspaceship?

Hang on, Squirt. Can wefinish this next ad break?

She soon noticed that everything was dying around her. Bugsand oranges and Christmas trees and houses and mailboxes and train rides andmarkers and candles and old people and young people and people in between. Shewasn’t to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures inher Book Of Dead Things—Spider, The Bird, Grandma, next door’s cat Gertrude,among others—her dad would be a Dead Thing too. That she’d write it next to thenumber twenty-eight in letters so big they took up two pages: MY DAD. That, fora while, it was hard to know what to do other than stare at the letters untilshe couldn’t remember what they meant. That she would do this, by flashlight,sitting in the hallway outside her parents’ bedroom, listening to her mumpretending she was asleep.


thefirst day of waiting

When playing connect the dots, Millie was always Dot One, her mum Dot Two, andher dad Dot Three. The line came from deep inside Dot One’s belly, wrappeditself around Dot Two and Dot Three—usually watching the telly— and back again,to make a triangle. Millie would run around the house, her red hair bouncingabout her head, the triangle between them spiraling around the furniture. Whenher mum said, Would you stop that,Millicent?, the triangle roared into an enormous dinosaur. When her dadsaid, Come sit beside me, Squirt, thetriangle curled into a big, beating heart. Ba-boom.Ba-boom, she whispered, skipping awkwardly to its rhythm. She nestled inbetween Dots Two and Three on the couch. Dot Three grabbed Dot One’s hand andwinked. The flashing pictures from the telly lit up his face in the dark. Ba-boom. Ba-boom. Ba-boom.

---

On The First Day Of Waiting, Millie stands exactly where her mum points to.Right near the Ginormous Women’s Underwear and across from the mannequinwearing the Hawaiian shirt. I’ll be rightback, her mum says, and Millie believes her. Dot Two wears her gold shoes,the ones that make her footsteps like explosions. She walks toward theperfumes—Kaboom!—past the menswear—Kablammo!—and out of sight: Kapow! The line between Dot One and DotTwo tugs and pulls, and Millie watches it getting thinner and thinner, until itis just a tiny scratch on the air.

Ba-boom. Ba-boom. Ba-boom.

Millie will carry this around with her from now on, thispicture of her mum getting smaller and smaller and smaller. It will reappearbehind her eyes at different times throughout the course of her life. Whenmovie characters say, I’ll be right back.When, in her forties, she looks at her hands and doesn’t recognize them as herown. When she has a stupid question and can’t think of anyone in the world toask. When she cries. When she laughs. When she hopes for something. Every timeshe watches the sun disappear into the water she will feel a little panickedand not know why. The automatic doors of shopping centers will always make heranxious. When a boy touches her properly for the first time, she will imaginehim shrinking into the horizon, far, far, far out of her reach.

But she doesn’t know any of this yet.

What she does know, right now, is that her legs ache fromstanding. She takes off her backpack and crawls underneath the GinormousWomen’s Underwear clothing rack. Her mum said there are women who can’t seetheir privates because they eat entire buckets of chicken. Maybe these undiesare for them. Millie has never seen chicken come in a bucket. But I hope to, she says out loud,touching the undies softly. One day.

It’s nice in there, under the giant undies. They hang lowaround her head, so close to her face that she breathes on them.

She unzips her backpack and pulls out one of the frozenjuice boxes her mum has packed for her. She sucks at it through the straw. Inthe cracks between the undies, she watches feet going for walks. Some goingsomewhere, others going nowhere, some dancing, others skipping, shuffling,squeaking. Tiny feet, big feet, in-between feet. Sneakers, high heels, sandals.Red shoes, black shoes, green shoes. But no gold shoes. No explosion footsteps.

A pair of bright-blue gumboots plods past. She looks down athers. I know you’re jealous, she saysto them. But we need to stay here. Mum said. She cranes her neck to watchthe gumboots jump down the aisle and off into the toy section. Well, she says. She pulls out her BookOf Dead Things from her backpack, rips out a sheet of paper, writes on it To Mum, I’ll Be Right Back, folds it inhalf, and props it up on the ground exactly where her mum had pointed to.

She takes her gumboots for a walk. Up and down theescalators, walking at first, then jumping, hopping, and waving like the queen.She sits at the top and watches the steps swallow themselves. What happens if the stairs don’t flattenthemselves in time? she asks her gumboots. She imagines the stairs spillingout over the escalator and into the aisles. She tries to connect eyes withevery single person who walks past her, and each time she does, the air jumpsin front of her like the old movies her mum watches. She plays hide-and-seekwith a boy who doesn’t know he’s playing. When Millie informs him that he is found, he responds by asking her why herhair is like that, and makes spiralswith his index finger.

They’re ballerinas, she says. They jump off my head at night and do showsfor me.

Pff, he says, and smashes a Barbieheadlong into a Transformer, making a spitty blowing-up sound with his mouth atthe same time. They do not.

Millie sits on the floor of the women’s change room. I know where you can get some undies,she says to one woman who’s turning around and around in front of a mirror likeshe’s trying to drill herself into the ground. Sorry, who are you? the woman says. Millie shrugs. Two ladies talkbehind the door of one of the cubicles. Millie can see their feet in the gapbetween the door and the floor. Bare feet and sparkly UGG boots. Don’t take this the wrong way, the UGGboots seem to say. But do you reallythink coral is your color? The toes on the bare feet curl under themselves. I thought this was pink, they seem tosay back.

Millie waits with the waiting men, who wait in chairsoutside the change rooms, waiting for women, peering from behind purses andshopping bags like frightened animals. The walls nearby are covered with hugepictures of girls laughing and hugging each other in their underwear. Thewaiting men sneak glances at them. It occurs to Millie that the giant undiescould be for these giant girls.

She sits on a chair next to a bald man biting hisfingernails.

Have you ever seen chicken comein a bucket?she asks.

He rests his hand on his knee and looks at her out of thecorner of his eye. I’m just waiting formy wife, kid, he says.

She stands under the hand dryers in the restroom, becauseshe likes the feeling of the wind whooshing through her hair, as though she’sleaning her head out of a car window on the highway, or like she’s Superman,circling the Earth. How does the hand dryer know to start as soon as you stickyour hands out? It is amazing, this, but the women in the restroom don’t notice,and just stare, panicked, into the mirror, trying to work out what’s wrong withthem before anyone else does.

Sitting behind the plants on the edge of the departmentstore café, she watches steam rising from coffee mugs. The man who looks likeSanta and the lady with the very, very red cheeks lean over their coffeestoward each other. They don’t say anything but the steam from their coffeekisses and dances around their faces and above their heads. Another man eatswhile not looking at his wife and has coffee steam that makes the mostbeautiful shapes in the air. Millie has never seen shapes like this. Are thereany more shapes left to make up? The woman with the shouty kids has a coffeethat breathes in and out, letting out long, tired sighs.

There’s a man in the corner with a tree-bark face. He’swearing red suspenders and a purple suit, holding on to his coffee cup withboth hands, as if he’s stopping it from flying away. A fly lands on the plantin front of her. What if everything couldfly? she whispers to her gumboots, watching the fly bounce from leaf toleaf. Your dinner could fly into your mouth and the sky could be covered withtrees and the streets might switch places, though some people would get seasickand planes wouldn’t be that special anymore.

The tree-bark-face man blows on his coffee so hard that theliquid spills over the edge and the steam splits in half. Some shoots forwardand some upward. He stares deep into the cup for a few minutes, then blows onit again.

He stands up. He has to plant both of his hands on the tableand push himself up with everything he has. He walks straight past her, andMillie tries to connect eyes with him but he doesn’t look up. The fly followshim, buzzing around his body. He reaches out a hand and slaps it against histhigh. The fly falls to the ground.

Millie crawls on her hands and knees toward the fly andscoops it into her palm. She holds it up to her face, squeezes her palm shut,and stands to watch the back of the tree-bark-face man as he shuffles away fromthe café and out the main entrance.

Millie finds her backpack underneath the Ginormous Women’sUnderwear. She takes out her Just In Case glass jar, puts it between her knees,unscrews the lid, and lowers the fly into the jar. She screws the lid back onand pulls out her Book Of Dead Things, as well as her markers. Number 29, she writes. Fly in department store. She can see DADbackward in big letters through the paper. She taps the marker on her gumboots.Picks up the jar and holds it to her face. In the crack between the undies themannequin looks down at her from across the aisle. His shirt is bright blue andhas yellow palm trees on it. His eyes seem huge through the glass, like they’recentimeters from her face. She moves a pair of underwear so she can see onlyhis knees.

Millie grips the jar while she watches for gold shoes allafternoon. And when afternoon becomes night, and the last door is clicked shut,and everything goes black—the air, the sound, the earth—it feels like the wholeworld is closing. She presses her face against the window, cups her handsaround her eyes, and watches people walk back to their cars with other people,with husbands and wives and girlfriends and boyfriends and children andgrandmothers and daughters and fathers and mothers. And they all drive off,every single one of them, until the parking lot is so empty it makes her eyeshurt.

She crawls back under the Ginormous Women’s Underwear andtakes a sandwich out of her backpack. As she eats it, she watches the mannequinthrough the gap in the undies. He watches back. Hello, she whispers. The only other sound, a humming from thelights in the display cabinets.


the second day of waiting

Millie once thought that no matter where you fell asleep, you would always wakeup in your own bed. She fell
asleep at the table, on the neighbor’s floor, on a ride at the show, and whenshe woke she was under her own covers, looking up at the ceiling of her ownbedroom. But one night she woke when she was being carried from the car intothe house. She looked at her dad through half-closed eyes. It’s been you allthis
time, she whispered into his shoulder.

---

On The Second Day Of Waiting, Millie wakes to the sound of high heels clackingtoward her. She has spread her...

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. If you liked Rachel Joyce s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you ll like this. (Metro). Will generate the same feel-good word of mouth as last year s bestseller, The Rosie Project. (Sydney Morning Herald). Millie Bird is seven-years-old. On a shopping trip with her mum, Millie is left alone beneath the Ginormous Women s underwear rack in a department store. Her mum never returns. Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and hasn t left home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven and in a nursing home. He remembers how he once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife s skin. Now widowed, he knows that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity, he escapes. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie s mum. And along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099592297

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. If you liked Rachel Joyce s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you ll like this. (Metro). Will generate the same feel-good word of mouth as last year s bestseller, The Rosie Project. (Sydney Morning Herald). Millie Bird is seven-years-old. On a shopping trip with her mum, Millie is left alone beneath the Ginormous Women s underwear rack in a department store. Her mum never returns. Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and hasn t left home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven and in a nursing home. He remembers how he once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife s skin. Now widowed, he knows that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity, he escapes. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie s mum. And along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099592297

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Book Description Windmill Books. Book Condition: New. Millie Bird is seven-years-old. On a shopping trip with her mum, Millie is left alone in a department store. Her mum never returns. Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and hasn't left home since her husband died. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven and in a nursing home. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie's mum. Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 200 x 130 x 21. Weight in Grams: 228. . 2015. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099592297

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Book Description Windmill Books, 2015. Book Condition: New. Millie Bird is seven-years-old. On a shopping trip with her mum, Millie is left alone in a department store. Her mum never returns. Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and hasn't left home since her husband died. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven and in a nursing home. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie's mum. Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 200 x 130 x 21. Weight in Grams: 228. . 2015. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099592297

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