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Lost Nation

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  860 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
Set in the early nineteenth century, Lost Nation is about a man known only as Blood. A man of learning and wisdom with a secret past that has scorched his soul, Blood remakes himself as a trader, hauling with him Sally, a sixteen-year-old girl won from the madam of a brothel over a game of cards. Their arrival in Indian Stream -- a land where the luckless or outlawed have ...more
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published April 5th 2002 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Ron Charles
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Lent's first novel, In the Fall, earned him comparisons to Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. With Lost Nation, we'll have to go back a little further, say, to Euripides. This remarkable tragedy sets the bar pretentiously high, but then somehow surpasses it.

The story is loosely based on a rebellious moment of American history, the short-lived efforts of a group in upstate New Hampshire to secede from the Union two decades before the Southern Confederacy made the same disastrous effort
Aug 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was quite a surprise - and proof that sometimes the right book comes along at the wrong time. I had tried to read it once, and actually marked it as "not gonna happen." I picked it up again and absolutely loved it!

The book is surprising - the two main characters, Blood- a 40+ year old man, running from his past, gritty, raw and flawed has purchased Sally, a 16 year old prostitute who actually is able to give him a run for his money. They settle in the wild west of the East - in a disput
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Set in 1838-39 on the frontier between New England & Canada, this novel's two main characters--a man in his late 40s (I think) who's running from his past, & the 15-year-old girl he purchases from a bordello--are immensely interesting. Both have to learn to trust, & both are amazingly perceptive in their relations with others (a source of their lack of trust). It's a real page-turner, a sometimes violent "Western" (though set on the Eastern frontier), at the same time as it's an insi ...more
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
May 6th - I'm 1/3rd through chapter two. I just picked the book up again last night because I didn't want to get out of bed to get the book I was reading (Anil's Ghost, which I had put down to finish Pride and Prejudice). I had read through chapter one - trudged through it, more like it - and started chapter two several weeks ago. It felt too heavy to read at the time and I knew, because of the descriptive nature of the first 60 or so pages, I would not have trouble remembering characters and th ...more
A few years ago, I read Jeffrey Lent's In the Fall, and I was mesmerized with the author's talent for prose paired with a gripping historical narrative. I knew I would have to read another by this gifted writer. Lost Nation did not disappoint.

The novel takes place in Vermont, before statehood. Men ventured out into the wilderness of this New England area for solitude, and to establish communities as they would have them - far from the seats of competing nations that would control them. Those nat
Susie Bell
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lent's writing draws me in like a master storyteller. He reveals each characters insights layer by layer as they become aware of themselves and the world around them. The dark side of life is palpable and disconcerting.
J.K. Grice
I wanted to like this book more, but it wasn't a tremendous read for me. I liked the story and some of the imagery, but it bogs down a bit in places. LOST NATION was worth a one time read.
Ian Mapp
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lost Nation is a richly textured landscape of the early 19th Century life. Lent's precise sensory details bring to life characters and their struggles with authority in a wild place between boundary lines. It raises great questions about sense of place, community involvement and explores how our current geography was carved up- through logic or coercion or luck. The book has a gripping plot that moves quickly along a natural arch slowly revealing very layered and realistic characters . No one is ...more
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find this author's writing so beautiful. He is able to create a scene, a world described so fluidly I am unaware of reading but feel as if I am seeing the action, the story, everything as if it is right in front of me.
I have read two previous novels although not yet In The Fall which may be his best known work. I feel prudish saying I dislike all the sexual content although it fits well in his stories, just feels a little too gratuitous for my taste. Maybe the only reason I do not rate him mo
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read all year. At times both brutal and tender, this gritty drama set in the wilds of Northeast America in the early 1800's will not be for everyone, but some of the writing was so beautiful that I had to catch my breath, stop and reread certain passages several times, just to savor them. Although the setting is in the East, some have called this a Western, and I would agree, to the extent that it follows people on the edge of wilderness, trying to learn to be civilized. Besides t ...more
William Clemens
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I first started the book I was not prepared for what I got. The grizzled hard hearted mountain man with a dark secret and his young, naive, but tough as nails whore headed off into the wilderness to make their way in the world. I worried, but Lent's writing made these characters very real, and his descriptions of the country were amazing and drew me in. I was utterly unprepared for the twists in the end, and the way the story wrapped up was horrible and touching at the same time. There is a ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to ~mad by: Used fr 2nd & Charles
Shelves: booksiveread
2.4.12 - 8:26 pm - I've read other of this author's books. Let's see how this one measures up!

This book was extraordinary but not a story for just everyone to read - it is tough, violent, disturbing and while probably the situations are real - they are uncomfortable. BUT Mr Lent's writing is such that I could not put this one down tho I had to to take a rest from the harshness of some of the situations in the book.

Give it a try, if you will - I will read other of this author's books, in fact, I
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really surprised me. It took a bit of patience to get into it, but then I had a hard time putting it down. I was truly sad to see the end of it, which I always think shows a truly good book, when you don't want it to end.
Definitely a tragedy and a very sad story that takes place back in the old settlement period. There's some strong scenes in here that would keep me from recommending to my grandmother, but I would recommend it to friends.
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A man called Blood--on the run from a secret past--wins a teenaged prostitute in a card game and takes her with him to a wilderness area claimed by both New Hampshire and Canada. Here among a motley crew of outcasts, renegades and struggling farmers he sets up a trader/taverner.
As might be expected, the past catches up with him and collides with an increasing violent present.
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent historical fiction. Jeffrey is a great writer and this book was rich all the way to the final page.
Kirsten McKeown
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Quite possibly the best book I've ever read. (And yes--that's a big statement, isn't it? I stand by it.)
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lost Nation takes place in the early 19th century, mainly in a settlement area that is disputed over by New Hampshire and Canada. Lent describes this world vividly, taking us into a little-known part of the American past that is long gone. The story begins with a somber, amoral man named Blood and Sally, a 16 year old he wins in a card game in a brothel. Lent's depiction of these characters is honest: he explores what two hopeless people are like, one who despairs for his sins and their conseque ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having recently visited the region where this novel is set, I especially enjoyed the author's portrayal of the Indian Stream area. The writing is beautiful and the story engrossing. I am a bit ambivalent about my feelings toward the protagonist. His actions are, at times, reprehensible. There are reasons for why he is who he is, but I am not sure it is enough to forgive some of his transgressions. That said, I like a bit of moral ambiguity and it adds to the frontier flavor of the book.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After I enjoyed Lent's A Slant of Life for book club, I was eager to read another of his. This was as least as good as that. The characters are complex and true to the time and place, the rough landscape is beautifully rendered, and the sometimes violent action kept me turning the pages until my eyes burned.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book
Blood, a man with a past, buys Sally, takes her to the 1832 wilds of Northern New Hampshire and attempts to set up a life as a trader. Lent slowly, lyrically tells Blood's story. That story builds speed and breaks into a fast-moving and tragic conclusion. An epilogue lets the reader down easy.
Mary Robison
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved In the Fall, and I liked this one even more. Other reviews will give information about the plot; the tone of the novel and the descriptions of the area were mesmerizing.
Graham Greer
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To me the mark of a good book is one that stays with you. I have been pondering this book for several days. It's an extraordinary tale. Profound prose.
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
This one was quite a surprise - and proof that sometimes the right book comes along at the wrong time. I had tried to read it once, and actually marked it as "not gonna happen." I picked it up again and absolutely loved it!

The book is surprising - the two main characters, Blood- a 40+ year old man, running from his past, gritty, raw and flawed has purchased Sally, a 16 year old prostitute who actually is able to give him a run for his money. They settle in the wild west ...more This one was quit
Jim Esten
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Moeller
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book seemed to mutate as I read. At first, it was about a man, Blood, going into the wilderness with only his dog and a prostitute, Sally, that he won in a poker game. Then it's a story about the same man trying to make a life for himself as a tavern owner in the late 1800s in a territory sandwiched between New Hampshire and Canada and belonging to neither. Then it becomes about this same man running away from a horrible thing he has done in his life. Then, finally, it is about how the man ...more
Lisa/Bluestem Cafeohlai
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"Lost Nation" on the top of every Contemporary American Literature reading list. Jeffrey Lent's story as words on pages comes at the reader as sensory experience, sopped with the sweaty, bloody thoughts of the main character as he runs from the emotional pains of his past. In a land and time of loneliness and ambiguities, "Blood" forges a physical and mental life beyond mere existence and survival.

In his attempts to be left alone, he is compelled to imbue those around him with understanding of
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lent is at his best writing historical fiction. This one is set in 1838 in a remote settlement somewhere in the borderless area between Canada and the US. People have to figure out how to survive...and that seems to mean conflict and violence. The writing is beautiful graphic disturbing. Lent's main character here (and in his other novel, In the Fall) is a strong woman who uses her wits to negotiate violence and complex relationships. Nothing is easy. The Postlude, set in 1896, seems like anothe ...more
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this story well enough--the cover and summary really had me thinking that it would be a good one. An exciting winner, you know?

Overall, it's a pretty anti climatic book and I found the ending very disappointing and bland. I bet it would benefit from a second read, but I don't think I'll even go that far. I struggled getting through this mostly due to the annoying writing. I had to constantly reread sentences so that they made sense and it seemed that crucial words were frequently left ou
Mar 13, 2010 rated it liked it
This was one of those books you don't want to put down because you want to know what happens to the characters (even while feeling disturbed at the happenings in the book--ready to put it down). You are rooting for them to overcome their hardships and move past the things holding them captive. Because one of the main characters is a prostitute, there are many passages that are quite descriptive about the encounters of her profession. I would have given this book four stars if the author hadn't s ...more
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“He doubted the hand of God but did not discount it - discarding only the God of the pulpit and the pious.” 6 likes
“Calamities and opportunities all jumbled up together and no sure way to distinguish one from the other.” 3 likes
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