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After You've Gone: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871138948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871138941
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,603,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A widower, suddenly bereft, finds an unexpected future when he goes to Amsterdam looking for his past in Lent's intricate and rewarding fourth novel. Henry Dorn is an upright college professor whose relatively tranquil existence is upended when his wife and son are killed in a car accident in the 1920s. As the novel follows Henry in flashbacks to before and after the crash, we get a closeup view of the loss of innocence of a person and a world. Henry's relationship with his son, a morphine-addicted WWI veteran, had grown deeply fraught, while glimpses of Henry's childhood in Nova Scotia reveal a hardscrabble fishing family torn apart. After the accident, Henry travels to Amsterdam to research his family history, and an unexpected affair kicks off a period of indulgence on a continent whose need for postwar recovery matches his own psychic wounds. At times, the dialogue can feel wooden, but the narrative's course back and forth through time and across the Atlantic creates an aura of mystery and tension that's amplified by Lent's vivid depiction of the era. It's a nice contrast to the aimless youngsters often associated with the lost generation canon. (Mar.)
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Review


“All the wonders of the heart and mind are in [Lent's] new novel. With unequalled skill and sensitivity, Jeffrey Lent offers us a profound understanding of the how and why we get through our good days and our bad days.”—Edward P. Jones, author of The Known World

“I had a curious and fascinating experience with Jeffrey Lent’s After You’ve Gone. I read it three months ago and then let it slip in and out of my consciousness without beckoning it. Like all good novels, After You’ve Gone will become part of your life. The triumph is the quality of Lent’s prose.”—Jim Harrison

“Strong, thoughtful . . . skillfully multilayered . . . The novel’s prose is . . . gorgeous.”—Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

Beautifully written, evocative.
Red Rum
In The Fall was one of the best books I have evwer read..lokking forward to a mew book by Jeffrey Lent..
Don McClanahan
I thought the ending was too abrupt which left me feeling upset.
Susan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Snodgrass on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Someone once said that Cormac McCarthy could write instructions on how to operate a microwave and it would be a good read. I think the same thing can be said of Jeffrey Lent. Each of his novels have been so different that I think it is impossible to compare them, one to another. In this novel a man who has lead a fairly normal life with a successful career and grown children is faced with a sudden terrible accident and finds himself alone. Lent takes the reader back through parts of the characters childhood, his marriage, his failure to come to terms with his sons addiction, and sets him on a course of refinding himself. I thought the best phrase of the whole book was "how alone a person lives", this somehow makes the reader identify with that phrase. The ending while unexpected was, to me, the only way it could have ended, perhaps giving hope that there is grace in each decision we make along the way.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thirtysomething Reader on September 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting and engaging to read how the lives of the main characters unfolded, and I found the characters likable. The background about Henry Dorn's Nova Scotia was very interesting -- I bet Jeffrey Lent could write a whole novel set in the community Henry Dorn came out of.

The theme of this book seems to be along the lines of "Man proposes, God disposes." Henry Dorn, his wife, his son, his father, his mother, his lady friend Lydia, and his Russian friend all undergo life events in which they have a particular plan or idea about how things will go, only to have it all turn out very differently. When I think about it, each one of those character's life paths could be expanded into an entire novel. But it might get boring since it seems they would almost all end in the same way...

The character of Lydia Pearce, the lady friend, was a bright spot. Henry Dorn reaches an important realization about the nature of women thanks to his relationship with her, and it is nice to see Lent create a female main character who is not at the mercy of the men around her.

I thought the ending was kind of gratuitous, although I admit it fit with the book's theme, if I understood it right. When I read the last page I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking, "Yes, yes, of course, this is a serious novel about the twists & turns of life and so we are OBLIGED to have this kind of ending -- snort." In sum, I would say it's a good book, much better than "A Peculiar Grace" but not meeting the standard of the author's first two novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Keefner on June 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
I loved this book for 244 pages. Then came the end, which was arbitrary and malevolent. It doesn't not flow out of the preceding material. It just flows out the author's hatred of a happy ending. When I finished it I did something I have never done with a book before: I tore it to pieces and threw the pieces across the room. I will never read anything else by Jeffrey Lent as long as I live. The rotten bastard broke my heart. Don't let my vitriol intrigue you into reading this crashing disappointment, unless you, too, hate happy endings.
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By Sonia J. Hunt on April 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and was sorry when it was finished. The people seemed real and I cared about them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A terrific study of one man's life, family, and coping through decades. Definitely a must-read for those who enjoy excellent writing style and a deep story.
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By Book Junkie on June 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love Lent's writing style. His books have great character detail. Wish he would hurry up and write some more as I have read and enjoyed all of his.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read, "In the Fall" and then, "Lost Nation," and since I loved them both - I've been inspired to snatch up any book by Jeffrey Lent. After You've Gone is a different kind of story than I'd usually be drawn to. I was reminded of Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (an older male narrator looking back at his life, his love, his family) . Although, somewhat subdued, I was quite swept up by the story, and the authentic characters that are revealed to you slowly, until the final climactic scene that crashes with an unexpected ending. Can't wait to read the next offering by this author. Each novel has been vastly different, and continues to stick with me.
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By Red Rum on April 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Beautifully written, evocative.
Too bad it is not available on Audio.
I cannot believe the poor reviews this book received,
and that's the name reason i am posting this.

Lent tells us about a man's life in three stages, in 3 different countries and cultures.
While not as dense and detailed as William Boyd's any human heart, in it's own way it
is equally good.
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