Written by: Elizabeth Garner
Reviewed by: Alessia Belsito-Riera
Upon settling into Elizabeth Garner’s Lost & Found: A Treasure Trove of Folk Tales, you are transported to an ancient world, but a world not so far away, a world still ours. A world of our forefathers that has been gifted to us, travelling through many generations to finally settle down in our laps. Lost & Found is a celebration of our human history as storytellers, an homage to the oral history that belongs to all of us now bound tightly within a book jacket, immortalised.
Garner’s storytelling ability truly elevates Lost & Found to the highest standard. You can hear the words echoing in your head as if they were spoken aloud, the whispers in your ear as if they were beside you. Garner’s voice is steady and matter of fact, recounting things as they are, have been, and always will be. The folk tales come to life again, speaking their truths and their histories as if they had never silenced in the first place.
Each story in Lost & Found is extremely accessible, as all folktales should be. The tales themselves are a perfect balance of tried-and-true narratives such as Little Stupid and The Whits of the Whetstone and lesser known stories. Each chronicle is imbued with the magic of folklore, each tale tinges our own world with enchantment, each story blurs the definition between reality and make-believe, but each one speaks a truth and passes on our collective generational knowledge.
Full of lessons of old, Lost & Found is the kind of book you read in front of a campfire out loud with family and friends; the kind of book that recalls your early memories from childhood when a parent or grandparent would tell you tales of how the world came to be or life lessons. These are the tales that we all share, the stories that bind humanity, the histories that make sense of the world, the narratives that make us innately and uniquely human.