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After You've Gone

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  54 reviews
In After You've Gone, a historical novel set in Nova Scotia, New York, and Amsterdam, Jeffrey Lent beautifully charts the sweep of a life and the discovery--and loss--of life-defining love. Henry Dorn has spent years building a family, but it only takes a single afternoon for it to fall apart. The woman with whom he fell in love in the first blush of youth, who has been hi ...more
Hardcover, 249 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published October 28th 2008)
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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  271 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was ok

I loved "In the Fall," and "Lost Nation" is one of my favorite books.

Jeffrey Lent is still a great writer, but he just went through some mad-lib motions for this one. It felt like a rip-off of about 100 different things, most notably, a heterosexual spin on "A Single Man" meets the most depressing scenes from "The Shipping News" smushed together with the intolerable parts of "The End of the Affair." WHY DO THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, AND WHO CARES! Stop moping about wi
Devra Gartenstein
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
"In the Fall" was one of my favorite novels ever, so I approached this one with high hopes. One of the protagonist's ancestors left the Netherlands under shady circumstances, so when Henry travels back there, I expected him to begin unraveling a complex, fascinating tale in the way that "In the Fall" kept adding layers of family history. But this novel was much simpler, with virtually no surprises, and I found myself feeling disappointed.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have loved each of Jeffrey Lents books. Each one is so different from the one before, that they cannot be compared one to another. I found this a great read
Jennie Ventura
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Struggled to get through this. Found myself skimming over pages.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Life is precious. Life is fragile. Don't want anything too much, and just enjoy what comes your way. It was a lovely read.
Alida Schleyer
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the way Jeffrey Lent writes. This is a great story, we'll tol, we'll structured about love, aging, wisdom, and reinvention. I highly recommend this book.
Kathy Schulstad
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Man travels to Amsterdam after his wife and son die. He meets a woman on the boat. Excellent writing - not a fast-paced story.
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Reminded me of Marianne Robinson's novel, Gilead. A character study of Henry Dorn as he recollect his life. Abrupt, unkind ending
Kathryn Bashaar
Mar 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
This books takes place in the 1920s in the United States and Amsterdam. Henry Dorn is a college professor whose beloved wife and troubled son, a WWI veteran, are killed in a car accident. This complete unraveling of life as he knew it inspires Henry to resign from his position and plan an extended trip to Amsterdam, from where his ancestors embarked for the New World two centuries earlier. Henry himself discovers a new world as he falls in love again, takes up the cello and evaluates his life so ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
as with other readers, i found the sentence fragments and sparse punctuation a bit annoying. i found myself reading certain pages and paragraphs multiple times - thinking i had missed something.

i like Lent's stories a great deal, well let's say i really liked In the Fall and Lost Nation. it took me a while to realize i liked A Peculiar Grace, as it was so far afield from the the other two. with After You've Gone, my like-o-meter was all over the place.

the characters, other than Henry and Lydia,
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This story initially set in upstate New York in the early 1900's follows the life of a male professor at Elmira College for Women, before that time in Nova Scotia and afterwards in Amsterdam. Lent's writing about place is fully detailed and engrossing. So too if not more so is his deep insight .into his characters and his rendering of powerful character moments and feelings. These qualities caught me and impressed me deeply. However, The plot line of the book as it advances more into a romance g ...more
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
The entire structure was very interesting. On paper I would have expected it to be annoying and disjointed, but he wove the stories together masterfully. Jumping years to tell his tale was very inventive and probably very challenging. Initially I thought it a lazy maneuver but much like short stories, a well crafted tale or story appears effortless when really it is full of effort.
I was very curious how he would end it, but it fit perfectly. Poignantly.
I very much enjoyed A Peculiar Grace which
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After a family tragedy, Henry Dorn leaves his life in America behind travels to Holland, the country of his ancestors. He is no longer a husband, a father, grandfather, a college professor. He embarks on a second life so to speak. He mets a woman on the passage to Holland and they begin an affair. And when she leaves him to travel to Paris, he is afraid he has lost love for the second time in his life. They do have plans to reunite but once again, tragedy finds Henry.

The story is written in seve
Robert Schwab
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book about loss, and the search for redemption following the loss. The main character and most of the supporting characters are well developed and believable, and I had great sympathy for the protagonist, Henry Dorn, who loses his wife and son in an accident and travels overseas to his family's ancestral home to try and make a new life. Lent's writing, as it was in In The Fall, is beautiful, but at the same time, occasionally distracting, owing to his propensity for writing in sentence ...more
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I so enjoyed two other Lent books I've read so I was looking forward to this one. A disappointment. This is a sad love story; the characters are interesting, preplexing really, the main character inconsistent, in my opinion. Much of the plot is predictable, especially the end.

I would like to have know the real outcome of life of the Russian cello player, The trouble of the son who returns from WWI seems real and his father's failureto understand is a little troubling. Such a good man and yet----
Susan Hester
May 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Wife of many years dies. Professor of Literature husband exiles himself to Holland because of a long-lost tie in the family tree. Finds a new love on the ship to Holland. Book describes the ups and downs of their relationship as well as his attempts at learning to play the cello from another exile from Russia. Basically ignores his adult children and his mother, left in America. The secrets of his father are revealed by an uncle. This book is non-linear in chronology making it somewhat interesti ...more
Sarah Allen
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jefrey Lent's writing style enchanted and infuriated me. Some of his sentences are a paragraph long and must be re-read for comprehension - but his use of language is beautiful. The story about a man in his late fifties is told in multiple time periods and locations. It is spare, at times mesmerizingly slow, and yet always left me wondering where the story was leading. I will read more of this author.

Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Hope this one is better than the last which I couldn't even finish. I loved his first two books, especially In The Fall which I recommend to anyone who wants a passionate, well crafted, story of humanity.

More than 1/2way thru and its marvelous. a style of writing that I could never emulate.

Another ball out of the park Lent. Marvelous in a way I normally don't admire.
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
The grief of the widower in this story made me stop and cry several times. His love and longing for his deceased wife was poignant. He has recently retired from his teaching job and lost a wife so we follow him in his struggles to reinvent himself. He moves to Europe, takes up the cello, goes on a cruise and meets a new love. The love story is sweet and authentic with sympathetic characters.
Abby Fick
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written (as always). Not happy with the ending, but that's not a criticism. Hard to say more without putting a spoiler out there, but I couldn't believe where Lent went with it at the end. Didn't see that coming at all. And any WOW moment while reading is pretty rare and incredible, even a bad one. But then this is one incredible author.
Itasca Community Library
Asra says:

I liked “After You’ve Gone,” but preferred Lent’s previous novel “A Peculiar Grace.” This mainly had to with the surprise ending of this novel, which I think readers will either view as fateful, or without closure. I fell into the latter category, which isn’t to say that the book wasn’t good. It just left me wanting more.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Lent writes beautifully and captures the main character's layers and contradictions. I enjoyed this book until the end, which made me sad. I will continue to read each book he publishes, though, hoping to find one as amazing as his first, In the Fall.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this book overall. The story is told in two time frames -- circa 1925 and circa 1890-1923. I found the writing style odd in places--he uses quite a few sentence fragments--but I was intrigued by the characters & their stories. The ending took me completely by surprise. ...more
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved Jeffrey Lent's other books. This is as good.

Wow. Beautifully written. The story of family, and love. Set in the early 1900s the story goes back and forth between Henry's childhood and late in his life. He does people so well.
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love Jeffrey Lent's writing, this one takes a little while to figure out his going back and forth in time. It doesn't take long before it makes sense. I might have given it five stars except for the ending.
Aug 08, 2010 rated it liked it
A sad story about a man who moves to the Netherlands after his wife and son die in a tragic accident. Set in the 1920s. Lent is a gifted writer who I will continue to read on the strength of his debut novel, In the Fall.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a chore to read, I actually stopped reading in the middle because it was so boring, and made myself finish it because there must be something good in it somewhere. Well there is a sprinkling of interesting writing near the end but wow...what a bore...
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found another favorite author. Can't wait to go to the library for a couple more of his books. I lingered over the words in this one. I think it will be in my mind for a few days. I picked it up for a "brain candy" break, but it is far from brain candy.
Apr 14, 2009 rated it liked it
I just loved Jeffrey Lent's first two books--Lost Nation and In The Fall. Waited and waited for more books to come, but I just could not get interested in this book. And I really wanted to.
Apr 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: it would be difficult to recommend it.
Tried to like this novel but after a number of attempts the story didn't have interest for me and the characters weren't appealing.
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