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Jeffrey Lent

Author of In the Fall

9+ Works 1,724 Members 63 Reviews 5 Favorited

About the Author

Works by Jeffrey Lent

In the Fall (2000) 916 copies
Lost Nation (2002) 392 copies
A Peculiar Grace (2007) 176 copies
A Slant of Light (2015) 115 copies
After You've Gone: A Novel (2009) 82 copies
Before We Sleep (2017) 40 copies
Φθινόπωρο (2002) 1 copy
IN THE FALL 1 copy

Associated Works

Contemporary Vermont Fiction: An Anthology (2014) — Contributor — 5 copies


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Lent, Jeffrey
Legal name
Lent, Jeffrey
ca 1960
Vermont, USA
Places of residence
Vermont, USA (birth)
New York, USA
North Carolina, USA
Franconia College (Literature ∙ Psychology)
State University of New York, Purchase (Literature ∙ Psychology)
Short biography
Jeffrey Lent lives in Vermont with his wife and two daughters.



The story of some tragic murders and their effect on the people left behind, set in mid 19th century upstate New York. Much of the verbiage is an almost erotic paean to farm fecundity with detailed and rich descriptions of livestock, the harvest, old farm equipment, many meals, and occasional D.H.Lawrence-like sexual discovery. It seems at times to be a battle between Rabelaisian naturalism and the plot's dour elements – human self-interest and its pal, religion. Strangely, the murders themselves don't seem to trouble us or most of the characters very much. The novel is beautifully written, but its thematic elements didn't click for me, and the story ends rather arbitrarily.… (more)
markm2315 | 6 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
I'm a big fan of Jeffrey Lent, but this one really fell short for me. Set in the 1920s, it's the story of Henry Dorn, a 57-year old English professor who decides, after his wife and son die in an accident, to take a luxury liner to Holland, where he plans to explore his familial roots. On the way, he meets the woman of his dreams. One main problem for me: I hated her. She's a cliché of the so-called independent woman of the day: she smokes {hashish as well as cigarettes), she drinks (including absinthe), she wears revealing clothes, she's a regular at sleazy underground clubs where "Negro music" (jazz) is featured, she refuses to talk about her mysterious past, she flirts, she eats "exotic" foods, she has radical political views, she lives a lavish lifestyle with no apparent means of income, she plays cat and mouse games (disappearing for days at a time without warning), and she wields sex like a sword. I hated her, and I hated that Henry fell for this crap; I had expected that he would eventually come to his senses, or that Lydia would dump him. But no, instead we get a cheesy O. Henry ending that was predictable as the last chapter slowly played out.

The novel is non-chronological, jumping from Henry's childhood and his relationship with the uncle that raised him, to his curiosity as a teenager about his absent father, to the earlier years of his marriage and as a father, to his guilt over the way he dealt with his son's issues when he returned from the war. A lot of the reviews of this book focus on his self-exploration. That might have been a lot more interesting if, in the end, he hadn't come off as just another middle-aged sap.

If I've turned you off of this book, fine, but please give Jeffrey Lent a chance by reading one of his wonderfully written, highly original, and absolutely captivating historical novels, like Lost Nation, In the Fall, or A Slant of Light.
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1 vote
Cariola | 10 other reviews | Jun 27, 2021 |
Another great book by Jeffrey Lent. If I have a single criticism, it's that this one could have used a little editing; it's really, really long, and heavy on description. Then again, description is one of Lent's strong points, and this is a sprawling family saga that runs through three generations. Besides, despite it's length, this is a real page-turner overall.

The novel opens with Norman Pelham, a twice-wounded veteran of the Civil War, making his way back home to Vermont after being released from service. He's accompanied by Leah, a beautiful runaway slave. Instead of taking a fast train home, Norman decided to walk home from Washington "to see the country"--much to his mother's dismay. And she is even more dismayed to learn that Leah is her son's new wife. It's the late 1860s, and even an abolitionist sympathizer like Mrs. Pelham feels this is taking things a bit too far. She moves into town, leaving the family farm to the young couple, with Norman's younger sister Connie stopping by every day to help out. Part I follows Norman and Leah, along with their children, through the hard times and the good, their love overcoming every challenge and sorrow until a final blow and secrets from the past tear the family apart.

I really don't want to give too much away. Suffice it to say that Part II focuses on the youngest child, Jamie, now an adult making his own way not too far from home. Something seems to haunt him; he's a quiet, overly cautious man but, like his mother, clever and resourceful. Jamie's sixteen-year old son, Foster, who is determined to uncover the truth about his father's past, brings the novel full circle in Part III. The novel explores issues of identity--the idea that we can never escape what made us who we are, and that running away from the past is never a clear-cut solution. Of course, it also examines attitudes towards race in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It's a beautiful story of hope, perseverance, forgiveness, and self-acceptance. Highly recommended.
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Cariola | 21 other reviews | Mar 5, 2021 |
I should have known what this book would be like when I saw a reviewer compare Jeffrey Lent to Faulkner. Obviously, Lent saw that also and it went to his head. The writing was smug and pretentious, leaving no way to connect with the characters. I normally give a book fifty pages to become interesting, but gave up on this ego-trip at thirty pages.
tiasreads | 21 other reviews | Dec 11, 2019 |



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