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The Lost Daughter Collective (Paperback)
"As I write this, Lindsey Drager is my favorite author of the moment and the Lost Daughter Collective is one of the most exquisite books I have read in a long time. Drager’s lyrical prose tells of a future world—or maybe just an alternate one, it’s a little hard to say—and the relationships between fathers and daughters in this familiar yet entirely separate society. With allusions to not-quite-fairy tales—Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz—the author depicts the way that young women move through their father’s lives. Like Drager’s newest book, The Archive of Alternate Endings, this is built around the power of language and perception.
It’s hard to explain the story without giving away the absolutely stunning plot twist, but I can say this: Fathers of Lost Daughters (or FOLD) gathers regularly on the top floor of an abandoned umbrella factory, a support group for the men whose daughters are gone as they try to navigate the world as former-parents, to share their sorrow with others who will understand, but to do so in physical seclusion from the rest of the world, from those whose daughters are still present. Meanwhile (or maybe before, or maybe after), another story unfolds, that of a lonely little girl whose father is an academic and the relationship between the two of them, between the man who is not present and the girl who is always present, waiting, but is, in her own way, just as lost as the daughters lamented by FOLD.
Considering the overall length is not monumental, Drager has created a story with layer upon layer of rich, emotional characters, capturing everything from a young girl’s anxiety about her changing body (clearly the loosening of her teeth must be due to her clandestine use of a forbidden word) to the tenderness of a parent coping with the unexpected and the, to him, utterly incomprehensible experiences of his child. Complex without being obtuse, creatively structured, and absolutely brilliant. A story I will definitely revisit."
--Lucinda, Longfellow Books— From Lucinda Recommends!
Every woman was once a girl
and every girl was once a daughter
For every woman in the world,
there will always be laughter in slaughter. Midnight at the Institute. Using bedtime stories as cautionary tales, a Wrist Scholar tells his only child of the Lost Daughter Collective: a fabled group of bereaved fathers who meet in an abandoned umbrella factory to mourn the loss of their girls. Over everything hangs the mystery of the Archivist's daughter--neither dead nor missing, but indisputably gone. Blurring the line between reality and artifice, far past and near future, Drager's satirical exploration of gender politics and identity queers the old adage: "A son is a son 'til he finds himself a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life." With allusions to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan, The Lost Daughter Collective is a gothic fairy tale fusing the fabulism of Donald Barthleme and Ben Marcus with the language play of Rikki Ducornet and Jenny Offill.
About the Author
Lindsey Drager is the author of The Sorrow Proper (Dzanc, 2015), winner of the 2016 Binghamton University / John Gardner Fiction Award. Originally from Michigan, she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the College of Charleston, where she teaches in the MFA program in fiction.