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The novel Little Boy Lost written by British-Jewish journalist Marghanita Laski was first published in 1949, four years after the end of World War II. One of the overarching themes of the novel is the many different ways in which the war devastated the lives of all the people it touched.
The story begins with an Englishman, Hilary Wainwright, living in his mother's house in 1943. Hilary is an introspective, reserved intellectual. He is told by a visiting Frenchman that his wife has been killed by the Gestapo and that his young son, John (the little lost boy of the title), is missing.
In 1945, after the war is over, Hilary returns to France to search for his son, and meets a young child Jean in an orphanage who may be his missing son.
Much of the poignancy of the novel derives from Hilary's reaction to the destruction he observes in post-war France, echoing his sorrow over the loss of his wife, and the agonized restraint and uncertainty with which he approaches the possible reunion with his son. The emotional restraint of the protagonist allows the novel to succeed in avoiding excessive sentimentality.
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