Born in Australia. Education: Bennington College, M.F.A.
Writer and editor. Has worked at Strand Book Store, New York, NY.
The Secret of Lost Things (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2006.
The Secret of Lost Things has been adapted for audio cassette.
The Secret of Lost Things, Sheridan Hay's debut novel, centers on Rosemary Savage, a sheltered eighteen-year-old who moves from Tasmania to New York City after the death of her mother. Rosemary lands a job at the Arcade, a massive, labyrinthine used bookstore—modeled after the famous Strand Bookstore where the author once worked—where she meets a host of colorful characters, including the Arcade's crusty owner, George Pike, his albino manager, Walter Geist, the preoperative transsexual cashier, Pearl, and Rosemary's aloof cohort in the nonfiction section, Oscar Jarno. "It's a tribute to Hay's dexterity that the characters never feel like an assemblage from the Quirk-of-the-Month club," remarked Scott Eyman in the Palm Beach Post, "but, rather, are fully formed human beings, a wounded band of brothers and sisters who somehow manage to do their jobs at the Arcade quite well."
After an anonymous letter offering the sale of a lost novel by Herman Melville arrives at the Arcade, Geist attempts to enlist Rosemary's help to secure the manuscript. The suspicious Rosemary turns to Oscar, with whom she is infatuated, setting off a chain of events that ends in tragedy. "Rosemary's naivete serves as an effective counterpoint for the machinations of her suddenly desperate and grasping coworkers," Margaret Flanagan noted in Booklist. Village Voice contributor Alexis Soloski observed that Hays "has a sensitivity to character, and the first chapters, set in Tasmania, are unsentimental and robust." According to Richard Ring in Fine Books & Collections Magazine, Hay's novel "is mildly self-indulgent, as novels set around books and bookshops tend to be. What saves it are Rosemary's internal moments, which often border on the poetic and grow between the action and the dialogue like a lush moss between flagstones."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2007, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Secret of Lost Things, p. 63.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of The Secret of Lost Things, p. 42.
Palm Beach Post, April 15, 2007, Scott Eyman, "A New Leaf," review of The Secret of Lost Things.
Philadelphia Inquirer, April 15, 2007, Frank Wilson, "Through the Prism of Enchantment," review of The Secret of Lost Things.
Publishers Weekly, December 11, 2006, review of The Secret of Lost Things, p. 45.
Village Voice, March 15, 2007, Alexis Soloski, "Bookstore Confidential," review of The Secret of Lost Things.
Fine Books & Collections Magazine,http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/reviews/ (June 10, 2007), Richard Ring, review of The Secret of Lost Things.