The Lost Soul - A Storied Meditation
As a lover of well-written children's picture books, my curiosity was raised when I read that Nobel Prize recipient, Olga Tokarczuk, had written one. Here's how a reviewer in The Guardian compared Tokarczuk's prize-winning 1,100-page historical epic, The Books of Jacob to her children's book, The Lost Soul: " . . . it’s both surprising and amusing to find it gazumped by a slender picture book, meditating on the value of patience".
This timeless fable is a pleasure to hold with its varied textures and remarkable artwork. It would be a treasured gift for any age. Maybe, like me, you'll want your own copy as a reminder of its important message:
Stay awake for your life.
The story begins with a man who busily moved through his life without noticing that he had outpaced his soul long ago. On occasion, he noticed that his existence was joyless, but he continued his fast pace, traveling to many cities and living his life looking out of hotel windows until the day he had to look at his passport to remember his name.
His doctor's prescription was to find a place, slow down and wait for his soul to catch up with him. In a cottage at the edge of a city the man waited while days turned into weeks and even months. His hair grew longer and longer.
He sat in solace with his focus on the slow growth of nature. Though he saw the shapes, vibrant colors were absent. The author even used vellum paper to depict the elusive views.
Tentatively his lost soul slowly approaches.
When it arrives she cries: "At last!"
Evoking memories of the Land of Oz, color covers each of the following stunning illustrations. Flowers bloomed from the watches they planted and the the suitcases they buried sprouted pumpkins "which provided (the man named) John with food through all the peaceful winters that followed".
You can find The Lost Soul at your favorite independent bookstore.