Gerald Cribbin is just your everyday postman. Helping connect and deliver people’s possessions and personal items with care. His own items…a little bit less so. One day he gets a call from the local “Lost Property” office that someone has found his letter opener, but upon arriving to claim it he finds that the office has more than just that. A lot more. Everything that he has ever lost has been kept and stored here, going back to his childhood. Why? What does it mean? And what will Gerald do with it?
In this short, yet moving story Andy Poyiadgi presents a tale of time travel, while staying in the present. How is this possible you ask? While the idea of finding lost possessions is simple in idea, the ability for a character to use these possessions to reexplore his past, decisions made, decisions left unmade, and to redefine his future is brilliant in concept. Poyiadgi allows Gerald to travel into his past without ever leaving the present, to give away pieces that have held him back, to rediscover bits of himself, and to make new what his future will be. I keep using that word, future, to describe this book, because that’s what it does. Poyiadgi sets a new course, perhaps not just for his character but for himself as well, with this short and powerful work.
Poyiadigi’s illustrations harken back to an era lost in the past, where gentle colors and soft pastels create the world around us. Feeling familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. The two main characters we see in this world and get to know, capture the intensity of standing upon the brink of something important, yet not quite knowing what it is. The feeling of regret, hope, fear, confusion, all blended together on their faces. My favorite parts of the illustrations though? Those subtle little details that Poyiadgi places in his images, the missing O on the Lost Property sign, the keyhole shaped panels as Gerald begins to unlock what his past means and the future holds. Little things that just stand out in part of a greater work.
This short books hides a brilliant story and a great introduction to Poyidagi’s work. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him. And what I can learn from the past artifacts of my life perhaps.