Book Style: OF THINGS GONE ASTRAY by Janina Matthewson

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Brandi Bailey

Staff Writer

Brandi can be found writing about books and dreaming up outfits on her blog, Book Style. She'll probably be reading something with mythology, Brits, unicorns, a feisty heroine, or (ideally) all of the above. She has lived in too many cities, but has settled down in Portland with her awesome husband and almost-as-awesome cat. Follow her on Instagram @PinkBBWhiskey.

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson - Book Style

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In today’s Book Style we’re embracing the change of seasons, the whimsy of nature (human and Mother), and the magic of finding the perfect debut novel. Springtime and whimsy just seem to go together – Fantasia‘s The Rite of Spring, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream (okay, so it’s pushing the Spring designation a bit), Botticelli’s La Primavera. While the seasons are pretty much a non-factor in Janina Matthewson’s magical debut novel, Of Things Gone Astray, she captures the spirit of new growth and change perfectly. And what better outfit for such a lovely book, which such a fresh and intriguing cover, than an early spring ensemble? I really cannot praise this novel highly enough. It was exactly what I’d been craving. Multiple character arcs, magical realism, poignantly realistic relationship studies are all present.

This book was ripe with symbolism and thematic elements that gave me almost too many options when it came to tying them into an outfit. I started with a simple yet vibrant outfit featuring a foliage printed blouse. The blouse, along with the wooden clutch, “Knock on Wood” nail lacquer, and tree ring, is a tie-in to the story of Cassie who is stuck in a terminal in Heathrow slowly turning into a tree like a nymph from Greek mythology. The nail lacquer and wood clutch also reference the tale of Robert, suddenly jobless and seeking his self-identity.  Marcus, once a renowned pianist, wakes up one morning to find is piano (the one he built with his father as a boy) is suddenly missing its keys – thus the piano ballet flats. Delia, trapped taking care of her invalid mother, finds herself bereft of her sense of direction, so including the compass bracelet seemed appropriate. Woven through these stories of loss is the tale of Jake, a young boy coping with the unexpected death of his mother and struggling to relate to his father. Gradually Jake becomes more and more fixated on his photography and finding lost objects. The “Lost and Found” key earrings and the camera earrings are for his story, along with the love letter necklace which neatly links him back to Cassie’s journey. The intertwined narratives also feature the story of Mrs. Featherby who wakes to find the entire front of her house, her shelter from the outside world, is completely, inexplicably missing.

What have you lost? Do you even know you’ve lost it?



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