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The Lost Highway

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  35 reviews
What had happened, from those days until now? And why had it? And how had his life gone? And who was to blame? Or why did he think he had to blame anyone? Certainly he couldn’t even blame Mr. Roach, caught in the same turmoil as everyone believing half-truths in order to blame other people. (p. 141)

These are the forlorn thoughts of Alex Chapman, the tragic anti-hero of
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 20th 2007 by Doubleday Canada
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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Adam Powers
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very deep look at some unique characters. Alex Chapman is a 40 year old man who fancies himself an intellectual in small-town rural New Brunswick where French, English, and Micmac people live a basic life. Leo Bourque is a former school bully without much intellectual ability who wants to be like Alex, whom he sees as a big man--but who spends his life working in the woods and for a construction company. Their life is changed when Alex discovers his uncle Jim Chapman has won the ...more
Aug 13, 2019 added it
Not my favourite of his books but I certainly enjoyed it! A bit too much philosophizing for my liking; I found Alex's decisions altogether impossible to relate to! His only redeeming quality came in the last two pages, at his death. Very dark and hopeless, much like Thomas Hardy. Even when Amy and her family get the money, there seems to be little hope for a bright future.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadiana
This was my first time reading something by Richards and I quite enjoyed it. Since moving to Atlantic Canada a few years ago, I've found that the region makes a great backdrop for all kinds of stories, particularly those with a dark tone. I'm very much looking forward to reading more from this author.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richards doesn't miss a detail, from the beautiful and tender aspects of nature, to the hideous shack where natives consume life-destroying drugs. In this book, there is also a murder mystery to be solved and we see police procedural in a different, Miramichi way, fascinating!
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
An unsympathetic main character that is hard to like.
Andrea P.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Review originally posted on Cozy Up With A Good Read

I found this book a little slow in the beginning but I am glad I pushed through the first 20 or so pages. I found the story to be very intriguing. I enjoy that the book opens up describing the characters and then you get the background story on Alex to understand why he is such an unlikeable character. In the beginning I found myself sympathizing with Alex until I got to know him better.

At times I felt that I wanted to yell at the characters
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it
When I started reading David Adam Richards’ The Lost Highway I hated it. It was Crime and Punishment all over again, but set in the Maritimes and populated by poor Francaphones instead of poor Russians. Instead of murder for money, murder for a lottery ticket. The same obsessive hand wringing, the same excessive meditation on should-I, shouldn’t-I.

Until! Midway through the book Richards’ must have realized (or perhaps his editor) that a novel can only go so long without a plot event, and decided
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paula Dembeck
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
For twenty years Alex Chapman a tired academic and failed priest, has been at odds with his Uncle James, a man known about town to be a tyrant. Alex is a bitter disillusioned man who believes his Uncle has been responsible for his difficult childhood, the loss of his true love, and the entire downward spiral his life has taken.

One night he learns from a local auto mechanic that James has bought a winning thirteen million dollar lottery ticket. Alex considers that this may be his chance for
Heather Stowell
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
“The Lost Highway,” provides the bleak, rural landscape of New Brunswick Maritime as a backdrop for a philosophical examination of character. Where the primary figure, Alex although he is educated well-enough to be a professor of Ethics is faced time and time again by his inability to learn from his mistakes. Alex faces off against his counter self with Leo who is not as dim as Alex had thought. The two of them duel on a lonely, abandoned stretch of highway, both outsiders, desperate and poor. ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian-lit
Another bleak, depressing, shocking, soul-shredding David Adams Richards novel...but it's SO BLOODY WELL written! The character of Alex Chapman could be the most incredible sociopath ever created for literature...his journey is, by turns, tragic and horrific...and once again, only one character emerges unscathed (not sure I can qualify it as happy) by the end of the novel.

However, what keeps this from five stars is a disturbing trend for the author's voice to preach AS the author, and not as a
Mark Lisac
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
A Canadian version of Crime and Punishment, with all that implies about fiction being used for philosophical speculation and social criticism. But Dostoyevsky did it much better. Only Richards' capacity for storytelling kept me going to the end. The characters and often tortured plot are manipulated for polemical ends. The other five Richards novels that I've read have little tinges of that; with this one there is little else, and certainly very little of the regard for human beings that fills ...more

Alex spent a stunted childhood watching his gentle mother defiled by rough-handed men including Roach, his biological father. Upon his mother’s death Alex is passed into the care of his hard-nosed great-uncle Jim Chapman, nicknamed “The Tyrant” by their Miramichi community. Alex’s uncle becomes a symbol of all that he loathes.

Alex distinguishes himself from this brutal masculinity that stole his mother from himby becoming a self-imposed ascetic, entering the local seminary and rehearsing his

Mar 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big David Adams Richards fan, but must admit that this book was disappointing. I may have never come across a main character of a novel as unlikeable as the self-pitying, cynical, disillusioned Alex Chapman and I found it a real struggle to get through the first two-thirds of the novel because of this. Things picked up a bit at the end so I bumped my final rating up to 3 stars.

If you're new to Adams Richards don't start with this novel - try Mercy Among the Children or Nights Below
Oct 20, 2010 rated it liked it
It took me too long to read this book. Maybe because I got involved in watching the first 2 seasons of MAD MEN, and my New Year's resolution of "Read less, watch more T.V." was being fulfilled.

The main character, Alex was such an unlikeable person. He and his uncle were constantly at odds with each other. Alex learns one day that his uncle has been sold a winning lottery ticket worth $13 million and Alex vows that his uncle will never see this money and from then on plots how to turn the ticket
Feb 08, 2014 marked it as aborted  ·  review of another edition
OK I am, probably and hopefully temporarily, aborting reading this very depressing novel at this time because with the equally depressing weather we are having I need something lighter and more cheerful. I noticed that other reviewers have suggested this is not a good book with which to start reading David Adams Richards' books and so far I agree. I Have acquired "Incidents in the Life Of Marcus Paul" and I'll give that a try and then decide if I want to read anymore of his books. I started this ...more
Zanna Hugo
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read.

At first I thought that I wouldn't get used to the writing style, but the clever plot and fresh concept quickly made me want to find out what would happen next. The psychology behind the actions of mere men thrust into the unthinkable circumstance of possible fortune makes for an exciting exploration into the human condition. More than that, the incredible build-up towards the end is rewarded with a satisfying conclusion. Not a ten-pages-per-night kind of book. Bravo.
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Started slow but more than made up for that by the end. Simple story but the details gave it a depth and heft. The way the characters rationalize their actions was interesting. I still can't decide whether I found Alex to be pitiable or pitiful. Both, I guess. Often, the dialogue felt a bit unnatural but at the same time appropriate and didn't push me out of the story - and just as often it was excellent.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Granted this book got off to a slow start... This seems like a good companion to Crime and Punishment or the Brothers Karamazov. A interesting portrayal of character, as despicable as Alex was. It is a classic tragedy and a classic example of the depths of self-centered, greedy and broken people and the depths to which they carry on their charade of justifications.

An exploration of religion and ethics and man's inability to reconcile meaning.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
The previous books of his that I read blew me away but this one was just so-so. In fact after awhile I just skimmed through it. The story being about a huge lotto ticket being sold to an uncle that the nephew plots to get for himself. Blah, blah, just wasn't interested after awhile. And his writing was off, as far as I was concerned. I'll give this author a break and come back to him at a later date.
Ted Dettweiler
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read Richards "God Is" before reading this novel. I loved this novel and "God Is" really set me up to get a deeper understanding of the author's position on a number of subjects.

I liked it so much because it shows the development of sin, speaks God's word and deals intelligently with important issues. Character development is also well done.

Ted Dettweiler.
Tim Grace
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very disagreeable main character and similarly so secondary character. I enjoyed the book finding it a bit repetitive at points but had the feeling that was conscious by the writer. At least the Amy character was a bright spot amid all the others.
Michelle Winters
Another story from a long time favorite author. The way Richards can take names and turn them into real-life type characters living in a place like one you know is impressive. Maybe not my favorite of his work; another good read.
Sean Kelly
Mar 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Richards is adept at developing loathsome characters, although unlike Mercy Among The Children, this book has a more palatable ending. The story is entertaining and keeps the reader interested, if only in hopes of a comeuppance for two of the main characters.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boekenkast
This was an interesting novel. In the end, the suspense really got to me. Liked it. :)
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book that once started you won't put it down till you finish it.
Carly Svamvour
May 21, 2010 marked it as to-read
This book is being discussed at The High Park Library, Toronto on the second Wednesday of June, 2k10.

I'll start reading it soon.
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
desolate setting;made me want to buy a lottery ticket
Jon Edgar
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was Mr Adams Richards suspense / thriller novel, but it still features his fine writing; sort of like reading a Robert Crais plot written by Joseph Conrad. Well worth the time! JE
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A compelling read.. remember that things are not always as they seem, not in this book and not in life.
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David Adams Richards (born 17 October 1950) is a Canadian novelist, essayist, screenwriter and poet.

Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards left St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, one course shy of completing a B.A. Richards has been a writer-in-residence at various universities and colleges across Canada, including the University of New Brunswick.

Richards has received