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Publisher's Summary

"Freudenberger's brilliant and compassionate novel takes on the big questions of the universe and proves, again, that she is one of America's greatest writers." (Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less)

A LitHub, O Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly "most anticipated book of 2019".

A Newsday "new book to look forward to"

Listed in Kirkus Reviews' "what to watch for in 2019"

One of Boston.com's "20 books to look out for in 2019"

An emotionally engaging, suspenseful new novel from the best-selling author, told in the voice of a renowned physicist: an exploration of female friendship, romantic love, and parenthood - bonds that show their power in surprising ways.

Helen Clapp's breakthrough work on five-dimensional space-time landed her a tenured professorship at MIT; her popular books explain physics in plain terms. Helen disdains notions of the supernatural in favor of rational thought and proven ideas. So it's perhaps especially vexing for her when, on an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday in June, she gets a phone call from a friend who has just died.

That friend was Charlotte Boyce, Helen's roommate at Harvard. The two women had once confided in each other about everything - in college, the unwanted advances Charlie received from a star literature professor; after graduation, Helen's struggles as a young woman in science, Charlie's as a black screenwriter in Hollywood, their shared challenges as parents. But as the years passed, Charlie became more elusive, and her calls came less and less often. Now, she's permanently, tragically gone. 

As Helen is drawn back into Charlie's orbit and also into the web of feelings she once had for Neel Jonnal - a former college classmate now an acclaimed physicist on the verge of a Nobel Prize-winning discovery - she is forced to question the laws of the universe that had always steadied her mind and heart. 

Suspenseful, perceptive, deeply affecting, Lost and Wanted is a story of friends and lovers, lost and found, at the most defining moments of their lives.

©2019 Nell Freudenberger (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Lost and Wanted is a new kind of mystery novel, written with an artist's rigor and a scientist's intuition. Nell Freudenberger shines her light into the farthest reaches of the universe, and also into the whirring spaces between parents and children, lost loves, and best friends. A beautiful book." (Karen Russell)

"This tender, engaging story takes a physicist for its heroine, and boldly bends the forces of the universe to the binding love between friends, between partners, between parents and their children. It’s not sci-fi, but something we might call fi-sci - a literary and emotional adventure peopled by complex, sympathetic characters, some of whom happen to do science as they navigate their most important relationships." (Dava Sobel) 

"Intellectually dazzling and almost unbearably moving. Probing the mysteries of the physical universe and the equally mysterious nature of human connection, Freudenberger writes fearlessly and lyrically about physics and grief; parenthood and friendship; the subtleties of race and the seriousness of female ambition. I've read many novels that made me think and some that made me cry, but few that did both as powerfully as this one did." (Amy Waldman, author of The Submission

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RB Vancouver
  • 2019-05-19

Brilliant

As good as The Newlyweds, but totally different. Very thoroughly imagined. She has a real gift for obsevation and characterization. The plot moves forward naturally with no artifice.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • S. Ingersoll
  • 2019-05-07

Booring

I expected a lot more quantum physics entanglement story line. I got over 1/2 way through and despite reviews that say it's late coming in the book, I couldn't slog through any more "character development" to get to the good stuff. know that this was expertly written though. I happen to be a non fiction fan but thought I would give this a try based on the description of the having a metaphysical bent. I am returning it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Smith's Rock
  • 2019-05-05

A Kind of Nice Story

There's nothing wrong with this book, just not a whole lot to make one feel that it was 13.5 hours well spent. Part of it was the topical smorgasbord: child-raising, a bit of science, the politics of the academic world, single mom (by choice) doing things her own way, nature of friendship, some #metoo thrown in...and a fair amount more. Long, long runway for a story that never quite got off the ground, for me. The narrator's voice is pleasant, but out of sync for brilliant women scientists that I have met. I would have liked a bit more Sigourney Weaver/Ripley, what I heard was more Meg Ryan/Reese Witherspoon. Pleasant beach read, yes, for some. On par with A Tale for the Time Being (Ruth Ozeki), The Power (Naomi Alderman), or almost anything by Margaret Atwood or Ursula K. LeGuin, hmmm, no. Lastly, when I had finished the book, I wondered if the book companiy's editorial staff had been on strike: half of the meanderings in this story could have been trimmed without doing any appreciable damage to the story line, dramatic impact, or themes.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • DKAero
  • 2019-05-04

Rarified Air

Quite well written and very intelligent, but you can't really call it "popular culture". Extremely specific to a particular demographic of reader. Ivy league, STEM nerds would feel quite at home and the science is super but....all of it was more a lesson than entertainment. She only dabbled her toes in the WE DON"T KNOW IT ALL argument that scientists are loathe to admit. Just wonder how applicable this story/work is to general audiences.

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  • C
  • 2019-04-09

DISAPPOINTING

I was expecting a smart ,brainy book with a smattering of quantum physics but instead a boring analysis of her relationship with her dead friend. Oh,and then the old trope....THE GHOST! Ghosts and time travel are just DONE, please!

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin Creaser
  • 2019-04-04

Did I misread the summary!?!?

I am sorry that helen had lost a love one. I understand the difficulty and furstration of raising a child. I believed listening to this book would give me a better understanding of how science interpeted death and loss, however what I found was a book about a woman who continues to have issues over closure. I'm sorry for helens loss and troubles surrounding the issue, but going over and over a day in and out, about the issue, again and again, made it unenjoyable, incredibly boring, and very unegaging. It was my mistake for purchasing the book in the first place.

I must say the woman reading did a lovely job. Her voice was soothing and engaging, enough so that it allowed me to see if the book improved...the book did not.

6 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 2019-05-10

Bait and switch

This book is nothing like the description. Yes from time to time the main character spews out some physics but not in a way meaningful to the story and isn’t linked to solving the underlying mystery. A mystery that gets lost in what I assumed was the authors desperate attempt to get her book picked up for a movie by hitting all of today’s major social triggers. Honestly I didn’t- couldn’t- finish it. The narration was as horrible as the text.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful