The Door to Lost Pages
by Claude Lalumière
Cover Artist: Erik Mohr
Review by Cathy Green
ChiZine Publications Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781926851129
Date: 03 May 2011 List Price $11.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Door To Lost Pages opens with a battle between the Elder Gods that features a betrayal that allows nightmares into our dreaming. In our reality, the action starts when ten-year-old Aydee runs away from her neglectful addicted parents and is eventually directed by a lioness to the mysterious Lost Pages bookstore, where she grows up and learns to serve the store and help those who are trying to prevent eldritch horrors from encroaching on our world.
Claude Lalumière's book is a series of interlocking stories both happy and sad, although most probably are best categorized as bittersweet. The first story involves the future owner of the store, who reads a set of encyclopedia volumes from Unknown Knowledge Press that cannot be found anywhere else. The second story is the sweet utterly charming whimsical tale of eight year old Billy who fights monsters and protects the world from alien invasion with the help of the books he gets at Lost Pages. There is also a bittersweet tale of desire and connection and a story of warnings not heeded and utter destruction. Because Lost Pages seems to travel between dimensions, it also allows its residents to examine alternate paths of their own lives and the store seems to choose its proprietors. At the end the story gets a bit meta as the author sees Lost Pages through his window, but cannot quite seem to convince anyone else it is there.
The stories in The Door To Lost Pages have all been exquisitely crafted by Lalumière and readers cannot help but be drawn in to the worlds and lives he shows us. The stories are by turns funny, sad, bittersweet, and joyful.
Lalumière is a Canadian writer and some of the stories are set in Montreal, although I personally did not get a strong sense of place from any of the stories in the book, but that may simply be my lack of familiarity with Canadian geography and Montreal in particular. Or it could be that the reader is not meant to get a strong sense of a particular city from the stories, since the Lost Pages bookstore moves around and is not entirely anchored in our reality.
Anyone who enjoys at least slightly dark fantasy should enjoy The Door To Lost Pages.