Flatiron Books: The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

Lost and Wanted

Nell Freudenberger (The Newlyweds) weaves together physics, grief and love in her third novel, Lost and Wanted. When MIT physicist Helen Clapp hears of her college roommate Charlie's death, she's stunned. Charlie had lupus, but Helen--a rationalist to her core--struggles to believe that she could truly be gone. And when she begins receiving calls and texts from Charlie's phone, which went missing following her death, Helen isn't sure what to believe.

Dedicated equally to her work and to her young son, Jack, Helen doesn't have time for metaphysical conundrums. But the texts from Charlie's number keep coming, with questions about science and wry quips that sound oddly familiar. Meanwhile, Charlie's husband and daughter have temporarily moved in downstairs. And Helen's former colleague (and ex-boyfriend) Neel is rapidly approaching both marriage and a Nobel Prize-level breakthrough. Helen grapples with her complicated present-day feelings for Neel while remembering their shared history, and looking back on the formative years of her friendship with Charlie. Known for her accessible science writing, Helen struggles to explain this set of mysteries: the fact of Charlie's death, their complicated but enduring friendship and the messages that seem like they're coming from beyond. Freudenberger's keen eye for human relationships is matched only by her compassion for each character, even Charlie's patrician, often difficult mother.

Wry, absorbing and deeply compassionate, Lost and Wanted is a thoughtful exploration of both complex physics concepts and the deeper mysteries of the human heart. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams