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Lost Nation

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  938 ratings  ·  117 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 2002)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  938 ratings  ·  117 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 insightful chara ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first two novels I had read by Jeffrey Lent and was looking forward to this one, too. It certainly did not disappoint! It's one of those books that I almost hated to have end. As soon as I finished it, I downloaded the rest of Lent's works to my kindle. He has become one of my favorite authors.

'Lost Nation' is set in a territory between New Hampshire and Canada in the early 19th century--a territory claimed by both nations. The novel begins with a mysterious man named Blood guiding a
Pat Higgins
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jeffrey Lent's historical novel Lost Nation tells the story of Island Stream, a small settlement in northern New Hampshire in 1836 that declares itself a sovereign nation. The book centers around Blood, a middle-aged tavern owner with a troubled past, and Sally, his teenaged companion, who hopes for a better future than prostitution. This unlikely pair establish a tentative closeness that is challenged by troubling murders in the village, the suspicions of some of the townspeople, and the arriva ...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.
Ramey Channell
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, engrossing book. Almost a 'Poldark and Demelza' story, but overshadowed by the raw cruelty and violence of early nineteenth century backwoods America. A harsh, startling, and original novel set in the wild country on the border of New Hampshire and Canada, an ungoverned territory called the Indian Stream. Jeffrey Lent is an amazingly original and talented writer. Lost Nation is a remarkable book.
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
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
7.5/10 - Great story and characters. The action sequences were superb. Drifted into soap-operaesque territory, sometimes for long stretches, which was the main reason I did not rate higher. Also like others have mentioned, I did not understand a certain character's motivations for the ending.

Will definitely be reading more by this author.

...He drew up the horse before an old woman coming from market with a basket of foodstuffs over one elbow. She wore a plain skirt and threadbare apron and a fad
Maggie Shanley
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intense dark historical novel that started so strong, but got a little tortured in the middle and then wound through time quickly in the end. The novel starts North of Portland, Maine before Maine became a state. Blood on the run from his family and his mistakes, takes a young girl from a brothel and heads to Indian Creek. He manages to get on the wrong side of the locals who are making bad choices. Sally the girl he took, is what makes this novel, she made me think and I learned a little som ...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.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Lent is a serious author and this is a seriouly great book. Although the main characters are fictional the setting, during the brief but violent existance of the Republic of Indian Stream (which I hade never heard of), is real. The prose is dense but has a beautiful cadance that reminds me of Cormac McCarthy. That alone says alot about this writer. Great characters, great detail, great story! I'll have to see what other books he has writen.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent novel by Jeffrey Lent. I initially found his first book, In the Fall, slow going, but unlike most books I've read, there are scenes indelibly etched into my memory. Same thing will probably occur with this one since he has an amazing ability to fill his books with emotional depth, coupled with dramatic events. While some might find similarities with Cormac McCarthy, I think they're superficial and that Lent has an entirely singular voice. Highly recommended!
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.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Gerry by: Valerie Shopp
Set in 1838, Lost Nation tells an interesting story of a loner who, with the help of a young girl whom he won in a card game at her mother's brothel, establishes a bar and trading post in an isolated part of northern New Hampshire after fleeing a tragedy in Boston. While the story was good, Lent's meandering and somewhat wordy prose made it hard to sustain interest.
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.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this in 2002 and don’t remember it, but I do recall the cover! Unfortunately I didn’t write notes, just described it as a good novel. I may have liked it more than three stars, but can’t say now.
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