Not Lost, by Sarah Maria Griffin
Sarah Maria Griffin
This account of relocated life in San Francisco has three strands: emigration, memoir and love story. The narrator’s focus is on her individual experience, but the currency is mundane detail. Her needy world lacks real drama or stark colour. The commonplace observations of starting a new life in a new town are fixated on self-reference and lack something more nuanced, more sociological. The book is an easy read, and its heart is in the right place, but the writing draws from a shallow well. The sense of any struggle is diluted by constant declaration of the value of stories and how we are all stories at heart. This mantra is third-hand and rapidly becomes cloying. A wheeled-in cast of hipster artists, writers and poets fails to dig into life’s great endeavour with any gusto stronger than lifestyle choice: you wonder where all the “ordinary” people abroad are corralled. There is an honesty to the author’s insecurity, but this may have been better communicated if calibrated against the history of men and women who failed to build the US.