Short Story Review: LOST, by Seanan Mcguire


Read the story online


Reading this shortly after my encounter with Christina Henry’s “Lost Boy”, this story resonated with me in a deeper way that it would have otherwise: it’s a tale about eternal childhood and adventures and it speaks of the need for both, and also the price that it entails.

The story is told from the point of view of Daniel, now well into adulthood and probably old age, and he recalls what happened when he was just past his fifteenth birthday and the children of the world, those younger than him – including his sister Torrey – started looking fixedly at the night sky and humming a strange, compelling song.  Shortly afterwards, in one fateful night, all those children disappeared, never to be seen again.

This is a bittersweet story – more bitter than sweet since poor Daniel is marked by the awareness that he had whatever touched his sister and all the others within his grasp, but just because of an accident of birth he could not take part in what happened. And he’s one of the few who is unable to put a different face on this kind of rapture and call it an epidemic, like the rest of the world does to cover its shared incomprehension of the event.

The theme of innocence needing to go on beyond the time when adulthood sets in and takes away our dreams, our capacity for them, seems to be one that’s very dear to the author, and here she managed to convey it in a way that I found deeply moving, even in the unavoidable cruelty toward those who remained behind.



My Rating: 

18 thoughts on “Short Story Review: LOST, by Seanan Mcguire

  1. Ha, not to rain on your parade here, but…
    anyone who thinks kids are innocent has never seen, or chooses to ignore, a battle of wills between a mom and a 2year old in the shopping cart in the grocery store. Now those can be truly EPIC 😉

    On the plus side, McGuire seems to be a name I’m seeing everywhere and all of it is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s one of my favorite authors and I freely admit being quite partial to whatever she writes, and her short stories are a good sample of what you might find in her novel-sized books. Highly recommended… 😉
      And LOL on the 2 year old kid!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. If the genre is not to your liking, you might try her Wayward Children novellas, or move entirely in another direction by trying out her horror stories penned as Mira Grant. And who knows? You might even become tempted to read her UF Toby Daye series… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Nah, I’ve read enough reviews by my cousin to know that Toby Daye isn’t for me. And the reviews of “Mira Grant” didn’t appeal to me at all.

            However, what is Wayward children?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. A series of novellas (two already published and one on the way, I think) about young people finding portals to different realities from which they return against their will, needing to be sent to a special school/academy to try and find a way to live again in our primary world.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for highlighting this story. As always, I intend to go read this, as you know I’m a huge fan of the author. I did notice that she tends to repeat certain themes, and the theme of leaving childhood behind must be particularly emotional for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve often wondered about possible early traumas that she’s now sort of exorcizing through her writing: what I admire is her ability in remaining lucid and almost… clinical (for want of a better word) when she moves over emotional territory.
      I hope you enjoy this! 🙂


  3. It’s a cool story, thanks for the link – intriguing indeed, and I cannot forget the ending of Peter and Wendy: “so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless”. Still, I remain not convinced 🙂 McGuire writes that three fifths of all children of age choose the myth of eternal childhood over their family – a ration at which even Barrie, an incorrigible idealist, would probably balk. Does this is supposed to mean that nowadays children are more childish? I wonder…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or maybe the voice that spoke to their hearts was louder than any other consideration…
      In any case, this detachment from home and family seems to be a recurring theme with McGuire, so that I wonder where it comes from, as I was saying in reply to Tammy: it’s something I’ve been asking myself often…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. interesting story. So from the description, I take it that Daniel regrets being born too early to take part in whatever happened to those kids all those years ago, including his little sister. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve always been the type of kid who can’t wait to grow up and have the freedom of doing grown up things, and frankly, the idea of eternal childhood sucked! I think Daniel should count himself one of the lucky ones 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, after reading Lost Boy, if ever eternal childhood had held any attraction for me, it would have paled considerably 😀
      In this specific case, however, my take is that the narrator missed his sister more than he missed the opportunity to be “forever young”…


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