Roger K. Miller, author also of the novels Invisible Hero and Dragon in Amber and of the non-fiction work, The Chenango Kid: A Memoir of the Fifties, was a newspaper writer and editor for more than thirty years. He is a freelance writer and critic whose work has appeared in numerous metropolitan newspapers and other publications. He and his wife Nancy, parents of three grown children, live in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
Constance (Connie) Pendleton and Connor Martin live in the rundown working-class section of a medium-sized industrial city. Their sixth-grade teacher calls them her “two Connies,” a label they despise but that is the spark that melts their wariness of one another and turns them into friends.
It is the early 1950s. While the rest of America is growing prosperous, their two families live on the economic edge, Connie with her parents and younger sister, Connor with his Aunt Meg, older sister of his deceased mother. At first the only thing Connie and Connor share is their embarrassment over the shabby, small apartments in which they live. But gradually the things they have in common, including a love of the decade’s movies and music, bring about mutual admiration. Each is troubled by a death in the past.
Connor’s Aunt Meg, divorced and childless, loves him fiercely. But she has a married boyfriend, Sam, whose volatility and air of danger add to Connor’s fearfulness.
As friends Connie and Connor complement and are good for each other. Throughout the decade—as they go through school and domestic routine, enjoying dances and movies and other activities—the closeness of their relationship wanes and waxes, until by their senior years it looks as if it might blossom into romance and love.
Theirs is a Lost World in that the 1950s (revived for the reader in the narrative of these lives) is a time long gone by and foreign to most of us. In a darker sense of the title, Connie and Connie lose their world, smashed for them by a series of disasters.
They flee from each other and from their sorrows, lost to each other for years—until one of those coincidences that happen in life more often than in books. But after all the sadness, can the coincidence bring happiness?
An epilogue provides a startling, even shocking, ending—and resolves a troubling issue, introduced in the prologue, that crops up again and again throughout the novel.