The Books

The Lost Lake

by Allen Say

One Potato Review

Here is a boy committed to spending the summer with his father – divorced by the looks of it, and a workaholic with little inclination to make memories. It’s hot outside. They’re stuck in a small apartment. This author tends toward the mysterious – and sometimes the utterly baffling – yet all of the reticence feels earned between two characters with such limited recent history. Then summer can seem so shapeless – no schoolwork, no soccer, and seventeen hours of sunlight every day – it’s not unnatural to want to cower a little before all of its limitless possibilities. The boy finishes his books, gets bored with the TV, slumps a little lower in his puffy chair, and probably dreams of a future where thousands of video games can be delivered to your personal handheld device, but alas, this is 1989, so he goes and snips photographs out of magazines instead. Which rouses something in his father, suddenly, impulsively: what follows is an affirmation every bit as important to the grown man as the growing. It’s a prickly journey back to the sense – if not the scene – of discovery from his youth. They hike deeper, higher, further into the wilderness, the father becoming more determined by the hour. Fellow tourists are part of the problem, and eager developers, still it’s hard to imagine a place that doesn’t take some getting to which you should ever want to share.