The Dictionary of Lost Words

A Novel

    • 4.3 • 360 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • “Delightful . . . [a] captivating and slyly subversive fictional paean to the real women whose work on the Oxford English Dictionary went largely unheralded.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A marvelous fiction about the power of language to elevate or repress.”—Geraldine Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of People of the Book


Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, an Oxford garden shed in which her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters beneath the table. She rescues the slip and, learning that the word means “slave girl,” begins to collect other words that have been discarded or neglected by the dictionary men.

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to tell this highly original story. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world.

WINNER OF THE AUSTRALIAN BOOK INDUSTRY AWARD

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2021
April 6
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
400
Pages
PUBLISHER
Random House Publishing Group
SELLER
Penguin Random House LLC
SIZE
8.3
MB

Customer Reviews

juliusa ,

Good Read

Overall a good read, moving and important ideas. A bit slow in parts that had me skimming a few paragraphs, but overall got to its point and was quite moving in the final quarter. Worth your time.

SSHRN ,

What A Glorious Tale

Lush, rich with characters and the words they speak. Young Esme draws the reader along with the story of both a woman in a somewhat cloistered environment and her glorious grasp of words and their nuances.

ksuterri ,

Beautiful Story

A wonderful, absorbing story! As a self-described “word nerd” I found the word descriptions very interesting. The characters, however, made the story for me. They are so well developed, real, and likable (or not, in one case) that this was hard to put down! Strongly recommend!

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