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Book Club Discussion Questions: Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

For those of you that haven't or couldn't attend book club lately, we'll be publishing the previous months' discussion questions here. I hope eventually to post discussion questions for all of the books we've covered since I took over a couple of years ago, maybe even beyond. It will take a while. Until then, we will be posting discussion questions a couple of times a month. Here are the questions from August's title, Keeper of Lost Things We hope these questions spark discussions of your own.


Keeper of Lost Things

by Ruth Hogan


Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook. -- partially extracted from publisher's website


Discussion Questions

  1. How are we introduced to Laura? How would you describe her? Why has intimacy been such a problem for her? How does owning Peardew's house affect her? In what way does she become an agent of change and redemption?

  2. How would you describe her wants and needs?

  3. Talk about the tragedy for Anthrony Peardew of losing his beloved Theressa and the effect it has had on his life. What is the impetus for his compulsion to collect lost things? Which of his imagined stories about lost items do you find most engaging—the blue jigsaw or the white umbrella, perhaps?

  4. How does Laura feel after Anthony passes away? What does this death mean to her? How does his task of reuniting people with lost things help her deal with his death and her life without him?

  5. Talk about Sunshine, who describes herself as a "dancing drome." Did you appreciate her clairvoyance and connection with the irascible ghost? What do Freddy and Sunshine represent to Laura?

  6. How does the story of Eunice and Bomber relate to Laura and Anthony's story? Did you find the two plot strands difficult to juggle, perhaps too distracting? Or do the two tales enhance one another?

  7. What did the inclusion of the descriptions of lost things add to the book?

  8. In what way are lost things symbolic of lost souls looking for a place to belong…or a lost self, struggling for self-discovery? How does each lost item connect with the individual who lost it?

  9. Do you agree with the symbology behind the lost things? Why or why not?

  10. What is the climax of The Keeper of Lost Things? How does this bring the central conflicts of the novel to a breaking point? How is this a chance for the main characters to grow or make a choice?

  11. Does the book satisfy? What was our experience reading it?

  12. If you were to write the back-cover blurb for this book, how would you describe it? What is The Keeper of Lost Things about?

  13. Story Idea: Think of something you either lost or found recently. What does that item say about itself, its owner, etc.? Why do you think it was lost? What do you think happened? Create a short piece about this object in the style of the snippets within the book.

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