The Lost Man
Jane Harper
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Chapter 11
Summary

As Nathan watches Bub and Harry stand over the stockman’s grave, he recalls the incident that led him to leave town. Nine years ago, during the divorce, he had driven past Keith, his ex-father in law, while he was having a stroke and needed help. Although he eventually turned his car around, he found out that someone else had already taken him the hospital, and where Keith had reported the incident. As punishment, the rest of the townspeople banned him from all public facilities except the service station and the post office. Back in the present, Bub and Harry finishes up and head back to their car, and start making their way home. As Nathan drives away, he contemplates on the phrase “Dead men didn’t talk” as he wonders about what might have happened to Cameron.

Analysis

In a town located in the outback of Queensland where weather conditions can be harsh, and the chances of survival for people stuck on the road were low, leaving someone stranded was viewed as a punishable crime. After Nathan was excommunicated, it dawned on him that he was entirely alone in the world, having been isolated from the rest of the community and denied access to public services. This chapter paints Nathan as the “Lost Man”, whose situation and actions pushed him to despair. The phrase “Dead men didn’t talk” applies to the scenarios of both Cameron and Keith, as Nathan considered how differently things would have turned out had Keith died at the scene before reporting him. Similarly, if they had found Cameron before he died and saved him, the mystery would have been solved (Harper 72).

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