‘Edge of Lost’ will pull you in; hear author read Thursday

  • By Alicia Jones Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, December 2, 2015 4:29pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

In Kristina McMorris’ new book, “The Edge of Lost,” we start with Alcatraz, fog, a child missing and an inmate questioned.

And this is just the prologue.

McMorris then drops the reader into the life of one Shanley Keagan, a 12-year-old boy living in Dublin, Ireland, in 1919. We find him doing a stand-up comedy routine or at least attempting to, in a pub full of booze-filled men. His menacing guardian, Uncle Willy, is nearby at the bar.

I took an instant liking to Shan, a quick-witted, astute, and in my mind, a rather brave boy. The way he feels out the crowd, reads his audience; his young instincts honed through observation and experience, modifying his routine to try to capture this audience’s interest.

We learn soon enough that he is the bread winner in this Uncle and nephew combo. His success determines whether he goes to bed hungry or has something to eat.

And so begins our journey as we follow Shan thorough the twists and turns of his life.

McMorris manages to pack this book with all the messiness and nuances of a life. Her vivid descriptions and use of language make you feel like the “fly on the wall.”

This is a journey that catches you up in Shan’s fear and the sinuous strands of his mistrust. You can share in the surprise and uncertainty of the unexpected blessings of acceptance and unmerited kindness he receives. This is a journey tinged with guilt, buttressed by loyalty; a journey of nagging loss. This is a journey about choices and consequences foreseen and unforeseen; about humor as both salve and a lance.

Most importantly this is also a journey of Shan’s deep desire to make a place in the world, to be something more than desperate and impoverished, and to belong.

As the subtitle of the book states, “Every journey changes you.”

I heartily recommend embarking on this journey.

Kristina McMorris

7 p.m. Dec. 3, Third Place Books

The Portland author will read from her new book “The Edge of Lost” at the book store, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park. McMorris moves her story from Ireland to New York to San Francisco and back again, offering insights in the immigrant experience in America during the era of prohibition, vaudeville and imprisonment on Alcatraz island. This is her fourth novel.

Talk to us

More in Life

CloZee performs during the second day of Summer Meltdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The psychedelic fest Summer Meltdown is back — and in Monroe

The music and camping event is on for July 28-31, with a new venue along the Skykomish River.

Gardening at spring. Planting tree in garden. Senior man watering planted fruit tree at his backyard
Bare root trees and roses have arrived for spring planting

They’re only available from January through March, so shop early for the tree or rose you want.

Veteran Keith F. Reyes, 64, gets his monthly pedicure at Nail Flare on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 in Stanwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No more gnarly feet: This ‘Wounded Warrior’ gets pedicures

Keith Reyes, 64, visits a Stanwood nail salon for “foot treatments” that help soothe blast injuries.

Photo Caption: A coal scuttle wasn't always used for coal; it could hold logs or collect ashes. This one from about 1900 sold for $125 at DuMouchelles in Detroit.
(c) 2022 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.
Coal scuttles of days long gone by now used for fire logs

This circa 1900 coal scuttle is made of oak with brass trim, and sold for $125 at auction.

Enumclaw, the band
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Most of these venues require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative… Continue reading

Does this ring a “Belle”? Storied anime writer-director Mamoru Hosoda’s newest resets “Beauty and the Beast” in a musical, virtual environment — among other modern twists. (GKIDS/TNS)
‘Belle’ is striking virtual reality riff on ‘Beauty and the Beast’

In it, ‘Beauty’ is the charismatic online avatar of a moody teenager that attracts the attention of a bruised and brooding Beast

"Redeeming Love"
Movie review: ‘Redeeming Love’ doesn’t yield cinematic riches

The story, about a sex worker “redeemed” by a folksy farmer in Gold Rush-era California, is creepy “tradwife” fan fiction.

Eggs Florentine
Baked Eggs Florentine: A brunch favorite inspired by a queen

The kitchen manager at Quil Ceda Creek Casino shares a dish that pays homage to a spinach-crazy 16th century monarch.

This easy-to-make spinach and mushroom quiche is perfect for a light dinner or fancy brunch. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Gretchen’s table: A spinach-mushroom quiche with cheesy goodness

The savory egg custard baked in a pie crust is easy to make — especially if you use a refrigerated crust.

Most Read