Long-listed, Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2015, Australia.
Sylvie is five. It's the 1950s and she lives in Burley Point, a fishing village south of the Coorong on Australia's wild southern coast. She worships her older brother Dunc. She tries to make sense of her brooding mother, and her moody father who abandons the family to visit The Trollop, Layle Lewis, who lives across the lagoon.
It's hard to keep secrets in a small town, but when Dunc goes missing, Sylvie is terrified that she is the cause. Now her father is angry all the time; her mother won't leave the house or stop cleaning. The bush and the birds and the endless beach are Sylvie's only salvation, apart from her teacher, Miss Taylor.
In the tradition of the novels of Anne Tyler and Eudora Welty, The Lost Child is a beautifully written story about family and identity and growing up. Sylvie is a charming narrator with a big heart and a sharp eye for the comic moment. As the years go by she learns how tiny events can changes entire lives, and how leaving might be the only solution when the the world will never be the same again.
Suzanne McCourt lives in Melbourne. The Lost Child is her first novel.
'The Lost Child is an assured and bittersweet coming-of-age tale with a vivid sense of time and place...The novel is a strong addition to the shelves of Australian literary fiction.' Australian Bookseller and Publisher
'An absorbing and often funny coming of age story...those who enjoy life's complexities and difficulties will find it a thoroughly engrossing read.' Bendigo Weekly
'Suzanne McCourt has with great empathy and skill created the turmoil in the mind of a little girl...a haunting story, it also demonstrates the power of the human psyche to overcome past difficulties and find was to fully live.' Otago Daily Times
'There are echoes of Tim Winton in McCourt's coastal small-town coming-of-age/breaking of spirit/triumphing over the odds under a wide sky-style writing...plainspoken but deftly crafted, laced with both humour and searing sadness. Highly recommended.' NZ Herald
'Written in beautiful, slow prose...This is a promising debut...You can't help but be keen to see what she does next.' Adelaide Advertiser
'McCourt's writing is assured and sinuous.' Belle Place, Readings
'Sylvie endures trauma, bullying, rejection and self-blame yet she largely manages to channel her energy into positives like creative photography and excelling at school. She is a survivor.' ReadPlus
'There's a watchful intensity to McCourt's writing, a remarkable ability to discover within the most concrete details a rich and raw emotion...a novel that is at once very familiar and entirely fresh.' Weekend Australian
'The story tugs at the heartstrings...I look forward to seeing what this author writes next.' Waikato Times
'[The Lost Child] reminds me of the quality of Ruth Park's writing in evoking the strengths and weaknesses of a small community...and the tragedies and humour amongst the everyday...A multi-layered novel with symbolism which stays with you after the last page. A significant writer with compassion. Highly recommended for adult and YA readers.' Hazel Edwards
'The Lost Child is a haunting tale of family life, identity and coming-of-age from an author who writes with a vivid sense of time and place.' Launceston Examiner