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Lost Everything

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  82 reviews
In the not-distant-enough future, a man takes a boat trip up the Susquehanna River with his most trusted friend, intent on reuniting with his son. But the man is pursued by an army, and his own harrowing past; and the familiar American landscape has been savaged by war and climate change until it is nearly unrecognizable.

Lost Everything is a stunning novel about family and
Paperback, 301 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by St. Martins Press-3PL
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Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  353 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Read 4/15/16 - 5/2/16
4 Stars - Strongly Recommend to readers with a love for the post-apocalyptic and with a load of patience
Pages: 304
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: 2012

Lost Everything takes its readers on a slow, sleepy crawl across the Susquehanna River in a not-so-distant post apocalyptic future where civil war and severe storms, brought about by economic hardships in the face of global warming, threaten to bring the country to its very knees and take the lives of anyone stupid enough to get
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lost Everything is like Cormac McCarthy's The Road if written by Terrence Malick. So stark and bleak yet so...ethereal. I loved it when I was done, even though getting to the end was a struggle at times. The primary story, about a pair of men floating up the now-mighty Susquehanna River during an unspecified war in the near future to find a lost son, is riveting. But every single character introduced gets a backstory, with tangents and diversions and unexplained details, to the point that the ...more
Marc Gerstein
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
This is brutal and I couldn’t get all the way through it, but I get what the author is trying to do. It doesn’t work and I don’t think it’s possible to work, but I’ll respect the creative risk enough not to give it one star.

To say this is a dystopian or apocalyptic work is an understatement. The story, if you want to call it a story, features protagonist Sunny Jim and his friend Reverend Bauxite traveling along with many others up the Susquehanna River to get his son and wife. The setting is the
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Another Goodreads reviewer described the book as bleak but ethereal, and I have to agree. This is post-apocalyptic fiction, but there are many poetic passages in the book. The story is slow and very character-centric, with alot of backstory as people appear in the plot. It's more literary fiction than genre fiction, and I was in the right mood to read this. I didn't hurry in reading it, and just let myself experience it. I guess you could sort of compare it to The Road, but it wasn't nearly as ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mexico native Alfonso Cuarón directed the cinematic adaptation of PD James's Children of Men. I couldn't understand what I loved about this movie. I watched it again. Then I watched Yu tu Mama Tambien. Then I understood. Cuarón's consummate skill is in telling the story of the world outside that of the protagonist's perspective, effectively reducing the landscape into a vital character of the narrative. His camera wanders, and the world slides by, telling its story merely by being framed.

Brad Hodges
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Here's yet another book about the collapse of society following some sort of calamity, but instead of nuclear war it's the rising tides caused by global warming. I read Lost Everything, by Brian Francis Slattery, because it won some award, but I didn't find it award-worthy. It's a dull, dreary book that I soldiered through, much like the characters as they fight for survival.

Set in the Susquehanna River valley, the book focuses on disparate characters. The rising of the oceans seems to have
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f, 2013
On p35, the unnamed narrator remarks: “There are no words for so much loss, not right after it happens.” Except the problem with Lost Everything is precisely the opposite: there are too many words here. A brimful cornucopia of imagery that overwhelms the reader, with writing so lush and overripe that the very pages seem to shimmer and curl. It reminded me of JG Ballard and Ian McDonald. However, the richness of the writing distanced me from the characters, as I was too conscious of Slattery’s ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Brian Francis Slattery, look, I love you, but your all sweeping description of looking out over the landscape of America like some kind of Kerouac-slash-Steinbeck all the time no real plot development to speak of oh wait what the fuck that was the ending shtick is going to get old eventually. EVENTUALLY.
Fiona Akkerman
For their coming children are their hopes embodied, their faith made flesh, that all that is ending is beginning again. For the world will not be fallen to their children. It will only be the world, new as they are. And perhaps if we tell them enough, if we say the right thing, they will see a way out, and know what to do.

How can you write a book in which the reader knows everyone must die, and still make it beautiful? Ask Brian Slattery, because he did it.

When I took this book off a shelf in
Dec 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I have no idea why anyone would want to read this book, or find it an engrossing read as some readers have here on goodreads. Yet, I read it, didn't I? Well, not exactly by choice. It was the only book my partner and I could find that met most of the criteria for this month's YA blind date buddy read challenge. To say it depressed the heck out of me is an understatement. It seemed that every other page had bodies floating in the river or lining the sides of the roads with a bullet in the back of ...more
Shaun Duke
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reviewing Slattery's Lost Everything will seem rather convenient in light of Elizabeth Bear's Clarkesworld post on the doom and gloom nature of SF. How awful of me to love another work that makes us all sad and boo hoo inside! Except Lost Everything isn't terribly boo hoo, unless the only thing you pay attention to is the central premise: the United States has gone to pot -- global collapse, climate change, and civil war, along with the looming threat of an immense, monstrous storm that will ...more
Terry Weyna
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it
What will happen to America as the effects of global warming continue to wreak havoc? Brian Francis Slattery imagines a much different country in Lost Everything, which has been nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award for 2012 for the best paperback original novel.

Slattery imagines that the country we know as the United States is gone, replaced by smaller, regional countries that are engaged in civil war. The Susquehanna River Valley is in the middle of such a war, about which we are told little
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The war, the war. There was no Fort Sumter, no Pearl Harbor, no moment that we all understood at once that we were fighting. No one to tell us things had changed. There must have been a first shot fired, perhaps two men—it must have been men—arguing over where one’s land began and another’s ended, a first bullet flinging a ribbon of heat through the air. Another one shot back. But I have to believe they did not know what they were starting. If they knew, why would they have shot? An army was ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
While Brian Francis Slattery is an established Science Fiction author, I would place this apocalyptic novel somewhere between Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Set in a not-too-distant future, two or three generations at most, global warming has brought the United States into a drought-fueled civil war between government forces and a revolutionary army. Amidst this violent and blighted backdrop, Slattery follows Sunny Jim and his preacher friend
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Vastly superior to Cormac McCarthy's over-hyped and over-rated "The Road", Lost Everything is a strange, fey, elegiac tale set in a not-distant-enough future America ravaged by climate change, economic collapse, and civil war. Sunny Jim, a taciturn man with a violent and troubled past, undertakes a journey up the flooded Susquehanna River valley on a mission to collect his son Aaron, whom he left in the charge of his wild, animistic sister Merry. Accompanying him on the journey is Reverend ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm still reading. Everything is going to pot, I'm told who will live, who will die. I might be told how this happens. I don't count on it. I don't know who's talking. Is it death? But no. Death wouldn't feed people, just take them away. I'll keep reading to the end. I won't recommend it.

I keep imagining little squiggly lines under the clauses that are sentences without verbs. Very distracting.

I think I'd like to read his other books. Later. Not soon.
***I was lucky to win an advance copy of this book from***

This was a very good book, well written, with very realistic characters. You fell the war destruction, and the characters' struggling in every word. The reason I didn't give the book five stars is because it was so depressing (but this made it so realistic). I had to stop reading several times - it was just too much suffering and destruction.
First Second Books
I love how in this book there’s the apocalypse – but it’s not filled with zombies, nuclear explosions, or Revelations. Instead, it’s just moderately-quietly concluding, in a kind of ‘fade to white as the sky opens up like an orange’ sort of deal.

Also I love how the protagonists in this ‘we have to go and get this kid home safely to his parents’ story are men, because the relevant women in their lives are busy fighting wars and are not available for kid-wrangling today.
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
I really enjoyed Slattery's 'Liberation,' and was hoping this novel would be just as good. I was very disappointed. He's an excellent writer, but this novel went nowhere - like McCarthy's 'The Road' but with an uneven, disjointed plot. As in the case of 'The Road,' Slattery offers no specifics as to how the world was ruined, just handwaving in the direction of climate change. What was so great about 'Liberation' was his ability to bring a social scientist's eye to the genre.
Marci Glasgow-Haire
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
The voice was jumbled, disjointed; the story bleak (as, of course, apocalyptic stories are meant to be) and climate-change-preachy. A little more cohesion to the narrative would've made for a much better book. Heck, even an introduction to the narrator would've gone a long way.

I'm being generous with the two stars. It probably only deserves 1.5. Don't waste your time.
Mere Hruby
Mar 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
I only finished the book because I paid for it. The characters were flat as well as the plot line. If it was supposed to be a story of the journey one would think the journey would have contained a revelation of self or the world... No such luck. The conclusion made me think, "Really. ALL that for this?". It was definitely not satisfying.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: post-apocalypse
Too dreamy, too many shifts of perspective and time, too few context clues. Some pretty big holes in the setting as well - for example: it would take a lot longer than 100 years for climate change to turn North America into a tropical jungle.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Do not waste time on this book! The author may have a gift for describing the new ways of the steamy and rotten planet Earth but his plot was thin and characters not believable.
Donovan Richards
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No One Should Be Mother Teresa

I vaguely remember a provocative paper assigned in ethics during my undergraduate years. Since I forget specifics, it’s probably not the best analogy, but I find it particularly fits with Brian Francis Slattery’s Lost Everything.

The author of this paper argued that nobody should aim to act like Mother Teresa. First off, the baseline for her code of ethics is too high for most of humanity to reach. Additionally, people can’t relate to the Mother Teresa-types of this
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
It's a beautiful book with a consistent languid desperate tone that seeps into you overtime like drizzle. I appreciated the structure of the book but wasn't a fan of how the narrator was supposedly relating the story. It never really made sense to me, but this isn't a book that wants to give you sense. It wants to give you a feeling and sort of shrugs at the details. Unfortunately, for the amount of time that the mood is established, I simply didn't get enough feels out of it. The characters ...more
Hm. How to talk about this book. It took me an entire month to read it, versus the way I devoured the two previous ones. It moves at a very sedate and languid pace, mimicking the Susquehanna River where all of the action is set -- like a sort of meandering sepia-toned post-apocalyptic Heart of Darkness. Another reader described this book as that "those last 5 minutes before you fall fast asleep", and Slattery mentioned that that was the exact hazy time of day in which he wrote the first draft.

Kieran McAndrew
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sunny Jim and Reverend Bauxite travel up river to find Jim's son in a post apocalyptic America.

Dream like and elegiac, this book meanders in and out of family history like the river the characters traverse. This is a journey worth taking.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
Unfortunately this is a book I could not get into
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
powerful, atmospheric, loved seeing Upstate NY after a climate apocalypse
Jul 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Had to put this on my abandoned shelf. The premise was good, and I was all set to like it, but it just didn't pull me in/didn't feel anything for the characters.
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Editor, reporter, musician, and writer living just outside of New Haven, CT.
“They could read it on each other, their faces wrinkled pages. Words hiding in the folds of their clothes. She was made of letters then, as all of us are now.” 7 likes
“These cords that God makes, Reverend Bauxite thought, we stand holding one end while they run taut into the darkness.” 2 likes
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