cover image Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Carolyn Parkhurst, . . Little, $23.95 (292pp) ISBN 978-0-316-15638-7

Luckily, this novel about a reality-TV show is a satire, if an often muted one. Addressing the comedy and tragedy of missed connections, bestseller Parkhurst (The Dogs of Babel ) uses the forum of Lost and Found , an Amazing Race –type competition, for a mostly somber (but occasionally very funny) set of character studies. As two-person teams journey from Egypt to Japan to Scandinavia, the carefully constructed, TV-ready personae of the competitors slowly unravel. Employing a constantly shifting perspective, Parkhurst admirably juggles a large cast of characters, with a number of competitors emerging as standouts: squabbling mother and daughter Laura and Cassie, tormented by a secret neither of them wants to publicly acknowledge; Justin and Abby, an "ex-gay" married couple wrestling with unruly desire; and Juliet, a former child star desperately angling for a return to the limelight. Parkhurst treats the game show as an opportunity for the contestants to decide, as the producer asks of them, "What have you found?" The answer for readers: heart and wit to spare. (June 13)