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Lost Everything Paperback – April 10, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"If you think this sounds like Thomas Pynchon or John Calvin Batchelor territory, you would be correct. Slattery’s approach walks a tightrope between absurdism and a kind of accentuated Byzantine realism."
The Believer on Liberation

Liberation is a magical, riveting poetic story of a post-economic America…. Slattery's prose style is complex, poetic, visionary and reeling, a cross between Kerouac and Bradbury, salted with Steinbeck…. It's a heady stew, a road novel shot through with mysticism and a love of freedom that soars over the pages. This is a book to fall in love with.” –Cory Doctorow

"Liberation combined the serious and the satirical in creating an unforgettable image of a future America beset by the collapse of the dollar and the specter of a new form of slavery."
—Omnivoracious, naming Liberation's #1 SF&F book of 2008

“For Fans Of: the surreal odyssey of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; Plan 9 from Outer Space.… For all its colorful characters and gonzo thrills, Slattery’s debut is first and foremost a moving portrait of Wendell's griefs. A-”
Entertainment Weekly on Spaceman Blues

"Slattery’s debut is a kaleidoscopic celebration of the immigrant experience.… Pynchon crossed with Steinbeck, painted by Dalí: impossible to summarize, swinging from the surreal to the hyper-real, a brilliantly handled, tumultuous yarn.”
Kirkus Reviews on Spaceman Blues

“Early reviews of Spaceman Blues threw around the names of Pynchon, Doctorow, and Dick as stylistic touchstones. But Slattery should really be considered alongside NYC homeboys like Lethem and Shteyngart, the former for his loving tweaks of vintage pulp, the latter for his sharp immigrant comedy.”
The Village Voice

About the Author

Brian Francis Slattery was born and raised in upstate New York. He is an editor for the U.S. Institute of Peace and the New Haven Review. He is the author of Spaceman Blues and Liberation, and is also a musician. He lives near New Haven, CT.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Original edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765329123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765329127
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,166,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Francis Slattery is the author of Spaceman Blues, Liberation, and Lost Everything, as well as a handful of short stories. He edits public-policy publications by day and is a musician by night; he is also an editor of the New Haven Review. He lives just outside of New Haven, CT with his family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Lost Everything, by Brian Francis Slattery, is a surprisingly small-bore and quiet post-apocalyptic novel. Where many deal with destruction on a country-wide or global scale and follow near-epic quests by some doomed or maybe-doomed survivors, Slattery takes his characters through a just-as-ravaged countryside but it all seems a little more domestic than the usual sort of end-of-the-world tale, a twist that is both the book's strength and its weakness.

The world has seemingly been in the grips of ecological disaster, prompted one assumes by global warming, so that sea levels have risen and rivers have slipped their human bonds and wreaked havoc. At some point, the United States collapsed as a government and in this region at least--along the Susquehanna River between Three Mile Island/Harrisburg and Binghamton NY--war has broken out between two factions. This is all laid out efficiently, concisely, almost with the sense of elegy, by the unnamed narrator who is seemingly researching this story:

Do you see? How the world is now? Nobody can quite say how it came to be this way. There is too much. There is not enough. It started generations ago, and so much has been lost, and even all that I found does not help . . . Our great-grandparents told our grandparents that things were different once, when they were children. A little colder. Simpler. Not as many people were dying . . . There must have been a day, a single day, when it was too late, when we could not go back, but nobody can remember when it was. Do you see? The story I have left to tell is so small, of the people who stayed when everyone else fled. Two men going upriver to get a boy.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By S. Duke on May 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reviewing Slattery's Lost Everything will seem rather convenient in light of Elizabeth Bear's Clarkesworld post on the doom and gloom nature of SF. How awful of me to love another work that makes us all sad and boo hoo inside! Except Lost Everything isn't terribly boo hoo, unless the only thing you pay attention to is the central premise: the United States has gone to pot -- global collapse, climate change, and civil war, along with the looming threat of an immense, monstrous storm that will supposedly destroy everything.

But underneath that dark premise is something that I think the best SF always draws out: the pure wonder of the human condition. The novel follows a diverse cast of characters from different and sometimes opposing backgrounds: Reverend Bauxite and Sunny Jim, who have set off together to retrieve Jim's son, Aaron, and escape the Big One (a massive, deadly storm weaving in from the west); Sergeant Foote, who has been tasked with hunting down Bauxite and Jim to determine if
they're a threat against the military, and neutralize that threat if necessary; Faisal Jenkins, captain of the Carthage, who wants to ferry people down the river to safety and listens to the river for the day when it will consume him and his ship; and an eclectic mix of secondary characters, from a con artist to a ship's first and second mates to military men and resistance fighters, all searching for a sense of home, a sense of who they were and who they have become, and a sense of what it means to have lost everything but not the will to find it all again.

Lost Everything is about survival, of adapting to dangerous situations and finding a way to still find love, friendship, companionship, trust, and all those things that have helped us form a civilization.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daneel Law on December 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like his previous two books, Liberation and Spaceman Blues, this is a post-apocalyptic novel. Unlike the previous two, Lost Everything plods along at a glacial pace and I, personally, found it to be completely lacking in fulfillment and intrigue, so much so that I could not finish it. Unquestionably, there are themes that explore the state of the planet and society, but these explorations, while not quite cliche are still ponderously slow in developing and overall the story remains at all times uninspiring and too introspective for my own tastes. I never felt engaged or particularly interested in either the characters or the destination. In short, this was a disappointment for a book which I had eagerly been awaiting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terry Weyna on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
What will happen to America as the effects of global warming continue to wreak havoc? Brian Francis Slattery imagines a much different country in Lost Everything, which has been nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award for 2012 for the best paperback original novel. Slattery imagines that the country we know as the United States is gone, replaced by smaller, regional countries that are engaged in civil war. The Susquehanna River Valley is in the middle of such a war, about which we are told little save that it is ravaging the land and the people. Sunny Jim has lost his wife Aline to the war -- not as a victim, but as a saboteur who died by her own bomb. Down the Susquehanna paddle Sunny Jim and the Reverend Bauxite, for Sunny Jim refuses to fight. They are trying to reach Sunny Jim's sister and his son. They must do so quickly, before the Big One hits -- a storm so severe that it leaves nothing in its wake at all:

"Just a boiling wall of clouds, gray and green and sparked with red lightning, and underneath it, a curtain of flying black rain, rippling with wild wind from one end of the earth to the other... I watched it take a town in the valley, far away below, and it was as though a wave were rolling across the ground, lifting houses, roads, trees, and all -- anything that was still there -- up into the air, into the mouth of the storm."

Along the banks of the river are communities that have suffered from both flooding and the war. Sandbags are piled to keep the river back, but over them the boaters can see smoke from gasoline fires and hear grieving families wailing over their dead. Some days the river banks instead offer markets, capitalism rising from the ashes.
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