On a cold January morning Susan leaves her husband alone for a few minutes and returns to find him gone. Suffering from dementia, no longer able to dress or feed or wash himself, he has wandered alone into a frigid landscape with no sense of home or direction. Lost…
Over the course of one weekend, the massive search for her husband brings Susan together with Jeff, a search and rescue expert and social worker preoccupied with his young wife’s betrayal. In Jeff’s care is Corey, a mute eleven-year-old boy who has been abandoned by his family after accidentally setting a tragic fire. As the temperature drops and the search and rescue effort threatens to become one of search and recovery, they each confront haunting memories and difficult choices that will have an unexpected impact on their collective future...
From the intersection of these three lives emerges an arresting portrait of the shifting terrain of marriage and the devastating effects of physical and psychological damage. Written in spare, beautiful prose, Lost explores the lengths we will go to take care of someone, and the ways in which responsibility, love, and sorrow can bind people together.
Three people are brought together during a search and rescue mission on a wintry weekend in the taut second novel from Lichtenstein (The Genius of the World). Corey is a boy who accidentally set a fire that killed his brother, resulting in his losing the ability to speak and rejection from his family. Susan is the middle-aged wife of an older man, Christopher, whose dementia has sent him into rapid deterioration. Leaving him asleep and alone in their house for a few minutes, she returns to find he's walked out into the snowy woods near their rural town. Jeff, a Vietnam vet with a cheating wife, is on the search and rescue team searching for Christopher and also, as a social worker, has Corey within his purview. During the long wait for leads on Christopher, the trio meditate on their histories of love and betrayal, death and violence, while the temperature drops and hope fades, though Jeff remains a presence at Susan's side through the horrible shock that awaits them. The unending toll of bereavement and trauma contrasts with a glimmer of hope brought by the characters' newfound connection in this stark and moving novel.