The Lost Man
Jane Harper
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Chapter 4
Summary

Ludlow takes photos of the scene and subsequently drives off with Nathan and Xander. Bub remains behind with Steve, placing soil samples into the cool box. The sergeant questions Nathan about his neighbors and the workers around the house, as well as the size of Burley Downs, the family’s farm. He is shocked to find out that Nathan lives alone on his seven hundred square kilometers of land. Subsequently, Nathan points out other properties like the Atherton farm and Kirrabee Station and mentions a drawing that Cameron made of the stockman’s grave, which ended up winning a national award. Finally, Ludlow inspects Cameron’s car, its engine, and radio, and finds nothing wrong with them. He informs Nathan that the Criminal Investigation Branch will not be involved because there was no sign of violence.

Analysis

Nathan’s inability to remember when he last saw his brother shows the disconnection in the family. Ludlow’s curiosity about the division of the land among the three brothers suggests that he believes Cameron’s death might have been related to a dispute about land ownership. The theme of environmental isolation is seen when Nathan tells Ludlow that he lives alone. The author introduces some of the town’s strange characteristics — including the Grenville River, which floods whenever it rains in the northern towns located a thousand kilometers away, the dryness of the land, and the famous stockman’s grave where Cameron’s corpse was found. It is also odd that people often visit the town to see the famous graves: “There’s a more popular one past Atherton” (Harper 29). Nathan also points out that had Cameron wanted to kill himself, he would have used a rifle, which was faster, instead of choosing to die of dehydration in the desert.

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