The Dictionary of Lost Words (Hardback)
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words (Hardback)
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The Dictionary of Lost Words (Hardback)

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£14.99
Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 08/04/2021
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'If you only read one book this year, let it be this one!' FIVE STAR NETGALLEY READER REVIEW

'An extraordinary, charming novel... Williams pins a whole, rich life to the page' The Times

In 1901, the word 'bondmaid' was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.


Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word 'bondmaid' flutter to the floor unclaimed.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.

**SHORTLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION**

PRAISE FOR THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS

'Set at a time when women's voices were clamouring more than ever to be heard, it moved me greatly to think how history is skewed by those who hold power -- and how important it is that novels like this redress that balance' Elizabeth Macneal, author or The Doll Factory

'A brilliant book about women and words - tender, moving and profound' Jacqueline Wilson

'I absolutely loved this book! Thought-provoking, touching and subtly romantic; I finished it in tears' Katie Fforde

MORE FIVE STAR NETGALLEY READER REVIEWS


'If you're a fan of The Binding and The Betrayals you will surely love this'

'A glorious combination of words, growing up, friendship, love, feminism and so much more'

'The best love letter to words and language'

'This book broke my heart ... I highly recommend it to any historical fiction fans ... it's one I will be reading again'

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784743864
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 665 g
Dimensions: 242 x 160 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A brilliant book about women and words - tender, moving and profound -- Jacqueline Wilson
An extraordinary, charming novel... Williams pins a whole, rich life to the page * The Times *
Poignant, perfectly paced... a beautifully nuanced work -- Eithne Farry * Mail on Sunday *
I absolutely loved this book! Thought-provoking, touching and subtly romantic; I finished it in tears -- Katie Fforde
Williams's satisfying novel animates a fascinating history and imbues it with a feminist slant, asking how words mean different things to men and women -- Patricia Nicol * Sunday Times *
This lovely slice of historical fiction... A highly enjoyable resonant tale about the hidden and frequently gendered stories behind the words we take for granted -- Claire Allfree * Metro *
A captivating and slyly subversive fictional paean to the real women whose work on the Oxford English Dictionary went largely unheralded -- Alida Becker * New York Times Book Review *
A gorgeous, unique read * Sun *
This immersive, scrupulously researched debut provides poignant commentary on the ownership of language -- Hephzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday *
An enchanting story about love, loss and the power of language, what gets recorded and what gets forgotten. Set at a time when women's voices were clamouring more than ever to be heard, it moved me greatly to think how history is skewed by those who hold power -- and how important it is that novels like this redress that balance -- Elizabeth Macneal, author or The Doll Factory
What a novel of words, their adventure and their capacity to define and, above all, challenge the world. There will not be this year a more original novel published. I just know it -- Thomas Keneally

Inspired by a wisp of fact - a single word accidentally omitted from the Oxford English Dictionary - Pip Williams has spun a marvelous fiction about the power of language to elevate or repress. This is a novel that brings to light not only lost words, but the lost stories of women's lives. It is at once timely and timeless.


In the annals of lexicography, no more imaginative, delightful, charming and clever book has yet been written. And if by writing it Pip Williams has gently rapped my knuckles for wrongly supposing that only white English men led the effort to corral and codify our language, then I happily accept the scolding. Her wonderfully constructed story has helped entirely change my mind.
This charming, inventive, and utterly irresistible novel is the story we all need right now. Words have never mattered more, as Pip Williams illuminates in her unforgettable debut -- Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost and Found Bookshop
What a compelling, fresh look at historical women! Lyrically written... This marvellous exploration into the ways in which spoken and written language impact us is a delight and an education -- Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

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“Stunning!”

I was sent a copy of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams to read and review by NetGalley. What a stunning read, I absolutely adored this book! The story of Esme is told in the first person which straight... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 12
Magdalena Morris

“An extraordinary novel!”

What an extraordinary novel! Pip Williams's The Dictionary of Lost Words follows Esme, from a little curious girl hiding under her father's desk at the Scriptorium where men are working on the... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 8

“brilliant debut”

“Some words stretched so far back in time that our modern understanding of them was nothing more than an echo of the original, a distortion. I used to think it was the other way around, that the misshapen words of the... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 8

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