The Lost Man
Jane Harper
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Chapter 23
Summary

Nathan examines Cameron’s painting of the stockman’s grave in the living room. Nathan sees a streak of gray paint on Cameron’s art that appears to be a person. He remembered that Lo had made a similar painting. Ilse subsequently joins him, and Nathan asks her why she had taken her daughters out to the grave. She tells him she wanted to have a picnic after Sophie had hurt her arm, and that they did not stay there for long as it was too hot; instead, they ended up having their picnic at the stables. Ilse leaves just as Nathan notices a pair of headlights and a soft hum in the driveway. He heads out and finds Xander in the car, which he approaches and gets in. His son tells him that he came out to see if he could find what Cameron had been searching for before he died. Worried and terrified that his father may suffer the same fate as his uncle, he asks Nathan to abandon the farm and leave with him for Brisbane. As Nathan declines, Xander pleads with him to renew his rifle license as a form of protection.

Analysis

The streak of gray paint on Cameron’s painting seemed to represent a person that Cameron had seen while it was being painted. Xander’s concerns that his father would end up dead like Cameron, are based on the private life that Nathan has been leading, his disconnection from the town, as well as the environmental conditions in the Queensland outback. As Nathan tries to think about what happened to Cameron, he is unable to understand what made his brother stop and get out of his car: “There it was again. That loose thought again. Nathan tried to grasp it and separate out the strand” (Harper 135).

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