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The Lost Man


"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian ...
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Discuss The Lost Man by Jane Harper:
Who really was the "lost" man?

Created: 01/06/20

Replies: 23

Posted Jan. 06, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vam

Join Date: 07/04/14

Posts: 8

Who really was the "lost" man?

Think about the words in the title and ponder who really was the "lost" man in this family?


Posted Jan. 07, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elisabethc

Join Date: 07/16/19

Posts: 22

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I like how the book sort of poses this question right in the title and leaves it as something that we can consider throughout reading the book.

I'm inclined to think of Nathan as the lost man (and to think that he becomes less lost as the plot unfolds), though I don't think there's one obvious right answer to this question. But I like my interpretation because it goes along with the idea that lost people can be found—even if that's an unbearably precious way to put it!


Posted Jan. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 131

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I think all the men in the Bright family were lost for different reasons. Hopefully, with the crisis of Cameron's death, healing can begin for Bub, Nathan and Xander.


Posted Jan. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 147

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

Paulak is correct; all the men were lost in there own nightmare scenarios; even the brother lost in death. This could be any family and the demons that haunt siblings as they move through life.


Posted Jan. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Anne C.

Join Date: 10/09/14

Posts: 23

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

In some ways, everyone in the book was "lost." Nathan, Ilse, Bub, Liz, and Katy all wanted a different path for their lives but were trapped either by lack of transportation or lack of resources to move ahead. Perhaps Cameron was also lost, but since we never encounter him we are just left wondering why the grave marker was so important to him and why he valued the painting so much.


Posted Jan. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 285

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I don't think there was just one "lost" man. All three sons suffered the effects of abuse. Cameron became an abuser. Nathan ignored Keith's need for help which shut him off from everyone. Bub felt left out, which he was. The women of the story were also "lost" because of the isolation and abuse. It seems that Nathan will find his way and Bub will make a new life for himself, out of his father's brothers' shadows. The women have also been set free so hopefully are also no longer "lost."


Posted Jan. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 292

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

Since it refers to only one person, I believe it is Nathan. The book was written with Nathan as the main character and from his omniscient point of view. I agree with the others that he did not remain lost in the end and that there were a whole lot of lost people in the story.


Posted Jan. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 264

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I'm going out on a limb here by saying that I believe the lost man is Cameron. The man in the title remains lost and those who are still alive now are not lost - it is Cameron who is dead and buried and through the discovery of who he truly was, the kind of man he was, learning the truth about him, that the men and nearly all others who remain in the novel are redeemed and/or found.


Posted Jan. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ABeman

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 47

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I like the idea that 'the lost man' is the one who has lost his humanity. So all those who succumb to their history of being abused and then abusing. So Cameron, the Bright brothers' father, Liz Bright's brother and probably her father. All lost. The question becomes, who is "the found man"? By the end, Nathan is on that path.


Posted Jan. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JulieAB

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 117

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I think all the men in this family are lost. And, I agree with others that posted before me, Nathan was beginning to find his way back.


Posted Jan. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 234

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

They were all lost in some way. Cameron inherited his Father's temper and became an abuser. This set him apart. Bub thought he was not respected in the family. Nathan, I think, was the most lost. He lost his girl, he lost his right to go to town, and he was afraid he would be like his Father.


Posted Jan. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 72

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

All of the Bright men were lost. It seems a religious reference...he once was lost, but now he is found. Nathan is on the road to recovery.


Posted Jan. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ABeman

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 47

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

Yes! @vivianh. Well said. Nathan ... was blind, but now he sees.


Posted Jan. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 28

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

So I was going to say as the protagonist, it was Nathan who was indeed lost and that if we looked at the characters - they were all lost to some degree. Then I read Susiej's reply and I think she is correct. Cameron is the true lost man because he cannot be redeemed. The rest of the men, and quite frankly, the women in the novel who all seem adrift are shown as beginning to heal and become moored as it were.


Posted Jan. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 129

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I’m with susiej & kenanr on this one. I think Cameron is the Lost Man because he can’t be redeemed.


Posted Jan. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiap

Join Date: 07/27/17

Posts: 49

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I think the Lost Man was Bub. He seems to have suffered the most because of his father.


Posted Jan. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vam

Join Date: 07/04/14

Posts: 8

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

What wonderful responses to this question. When reading a book, I like the ones that make us think. So the responses submitted shows that the book hit my target. To me, this surely provides a reason to want to read the book.


Posted Jan. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Missys

Join Date: 10/24/17

Posts: 25

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

The only man not lost is Cameron. He's the one brother who knew exactly where he was and what he was doing. The other two seem to have no idea, until the end.


Posted Jan. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyd

Join Date: 07/31/19

Posts: 5

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I also think the lost man was Cameron. Being dead he has no chance of trying to change or seek redemption. He truly is lost.
Everyone else at least has the opportunity to learn, make changes and grow.


Posted Jan. 20, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Harley's Mom

Join Date: 02/21/19

Posts: 19

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I think all the main characters in this novel, both male and female, were lost. All three of Carl's sons became lost due to the physical and mental abuse throughout their childhoods. Each bore their scars in different ways but none were stable, loving human beings. Both Liz and Ilse were lost due to their relationships with Carl and Cameron. Liz was lost due to her marriage to a sadistic human being. After years of abuse, she finally retaliated when she watched Carl die in the car accident before going for help and later was responsible for Cameron's death. Ilse was lost because she was trapped in a loveless, abusive marriage. She was in constant fear for her own life and those of her children.


Posted Jan. 21, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccak

Join Date: 05/26/12

Posts: 65

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I think all three brothers are the "lost" man, and so was their father. Cameron was literally lost from his car. Bub and Nathan are just going through the motions and not really living, and they don't know the truth of what was going on in their own family. The boys' father was lost because he thought the way to take out his anger was to abuse his wife and children. It's a vicious cycle of abuse. The only main character who isn't lost is Xander - he's determined to get an education and he wants his father to move away from the middle of the Outback and be closer to his family. He's the one wanting positive change for himself and those around him.


Posted Jan. 22, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
TerryPark

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 21

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I agree with so many of the thoughtful responses here. I love the Biblical tie-in to Nathan's emergence from being a lost man. I hadn't thought of that before reading it, and I did think, while I was reading, that Nathan was the most lost. He seemed to have given up on living, and settled on surviving.
The brothers are also lost, yet the more I learned of Cameron, the better I felt about him being lost. At what cost to the family would "finding" him be?


Posted Jan. 23, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 117

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I automatically assumed that Cameron was the lost man, but after reading many of the responses here, I can see that Nathan could likely be the lost man. Still, as Susiej and kenanr said, Cameron will always remain lost. As his family found out the truth about him, Cameron is now truly lost to his family.


Posted Feb. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizabethabby

Join Date: 07/30/15

Posts: 17

RE: Who really was the "lost" man?

I definitely think it was a dual purpose title.... But the more significant meaning of the lost man being in reference to Cameron. It was so interesting to see his story slowly be revealed - the clues were there, but as we learned more, it was easy to understand why he was lost, and to have compassion for him. His actions were certainly morally wrong. But you see the situation he was in prior - and the isolation that came after - and feel pain for him, because it just seems a cruel set of circumstances!!! Does that make it OK for him to behave the way he did in abandoning his father in law? I would argue no - but the complexity of the interpersonal dynamics, plus the view into his heart which was not at its core cruel - makes it difficult to completely fault him. And if I feel that way reading his story, we can only imagine how he would have felt living it. It is no wonder he became lost. His journey to finding his path in life was fascinating!!!


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