Book Review. The Lost Man, by Jane Harper

The great Australian poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal (or Kath Walker) turns 100 years this November. I’ve been thinking a lot about what she once said while reading Jane Harper’s novel The Lost Man. Kath Walker said, “Let no-one say the past is dead, the past is all about us and within.
What she means is that our past always affects our future. We are what we see, how we feel when we see it, where we grow up, and the lessons we learn. To say in two words, the past of our childhood is sticking to the spine like a glue. Yes, we can change, outgrow, clean up the mess of the previous mistakes. We all want to show to the world the best picture of ourselves while hiding poor Dorian Gray under the mattress.

As you probably understand, The Lost Man is focused on the past too. The plot revolves around three brothers. They are different personalities with somewhat difficult or fortunate paths. One of them ends up dead, and this is where the story starts. It’s easy to believe that his death was a suicide when his brothers had discovered the body 10 miles away from any living being/desert/.

But it was a murder…
Let’s find the killer, shall we?

Jane Harper is using a neat trick – she is making us, readers, believe that the murdered brother was a good guy, almost like a saint. Be careful; watch every move of that fella. 😉Remember the saying: every saint has a bee in his halo.
Of course, after a couple of chapters, you understand that the killer should be someone from the family: a wife, a brother, or an uncle, maybe? And still, you’ll be surprised…

The way Jane Harper writes about the lost land vs. the big cities, the daily chores vs. struggles of the man working with soil are genuinely exceptional. One thing I truly admire about this author is her quality of creating the atmosphere, the sense of home, the illusion of a dream. I admire how she describes real people – the clay of the Earth.

Often, we don’t want to read one genre – an only thriller, or romance, or crime. We want to read all-in-one. And here, in Jane Harper’s book, you’ll find everything you wish for.

This book is for you if you love:

  • contemporary fiction
  • crime, but a slow burn
  • abuse in a family
  • the mystery of the past
  • lyrical and emotional language/descriptions

The next book I’m reviewing is Mary by Nabokov. Mary or Mashenka (Russian title) is the debut novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first published under name V. Sirin in 1926. You can read the review at the beginning of June.

I’m also reading a couple of indie books. Here’s the list:

  1. My GRL, by John W. Howell – thriller;
  2.  The Keeper, by Nikki Moyes – young adult;
  3. Eclairs for Tea: and other stories, by Julia Blake – short stories, flash fiction.

P.S. I got an email with a question if I could recommend a surreal humor writer. Ah, there’s one on the market… with books in English (translated and published by Penguin, as far as I remember). His name is Victor Pelevin. Let me say at once – his books aren’t cheap. Kindle – 12, 13 bucks, but it should be an excellent quality of translation, for sure. 

Victor Pelevin is very famous in Russia and beyond. His style of fiction: surrealism, post-modernism, mixed with historical or philosophical content. His comic inventions have won him comparisons to Kafka, Calvino, Gogol. He also had been called a psychedelic Nabokov of the cyber age (by Time magazine). If you’d ever come across his books (in the local library, for example), I’d recommend starting with Buddha’s Little Finger or The Sacred Book of the Werewolf. Or any. 📚☕️

Pelevin’s page with books – here

Next post – So Absurd It Must Be True, book 2: stories, heroes, vibes 


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24 Responses

  1. masercot says:

    I love Nabakov. Especially Invitation to a Beheading…

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes, very cool Kafkaesque* book 🙂
      To be honest… when I first read Nabokov I was so young – I hated him 😂 I was 16 I think. It was difficult:)

  2. I read I think it was The Dry by the author. So right about atmosphere. I could almost taste the dry outback. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for the review, must try this one.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes, I read The Dry as well… agreed about “atmospheric” writing.

  3. markbierman says:

    Thanks for sharing, Victoria. On your list, you had me on contemporary fiction, crime, the mystery of the past, and
    lyrical and emotional language/descriptions. Sounds like a possible TBR.

  4. InspiresN says:

    Sounds like an interesting read , lovely review Victoria !

  5. A psychedelic Nabokov of the cyber age. Sounds promising.

  6. Sounds like a good read, Victoria. The book goes on must read list.

  7. Sorryless says:

    A heavenly review of earthly pursuits.

    Love it RNB

  8. librepaley says:

    Insightful and thorough review as ever. Interested also in any work on the Russian absurdist and satire tradition s. Gogol is hilarious.

  9. kinkyacres says:

    Wondering……….is a bee in the halo anything like a bee in your bonnet???????

  10. kinkyacres says:

    Wondering…………is a bee in ones halo and better than a bee in ones bonnet!
    Good review!

  11. kinkyacres says:

    Our past is really part of us, no doubt!