The Lost Country


Product Details

$26.95  $25.06
Dzanc Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.6 X 0.9 inches | 1.15 pounds
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About the Author

Born in Tennessee in 1939, William Gay began writing at fifteen and wrote his first novel at twenty-five, but didn't begin publishing until well into his fifties. He worked as a TV salesman, in local factories, did construction, hung sheetrock, and painted houses to support himself. He preferred to sit in a kitchen chair at the edge of the woods with a spiral-bound notebook on his knee, writing in his peculiar scrawling longhand. His works include The Long Home, Provinces of Night, I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down, Wittgenstein's Lolita, and Twilight. His work has been adapted for the screen twice, That Evening Sun (2009) and Bloodworth (2010). Most recently, his debut novel has been optioned for film. He died in 2012.


"Gay's great abilities in character building, richness of language and storytelling are on full display in this posthumous novel."
--Charles Frazier, National Book Award-winning author of Varina

"The pleasure that Gay, a self-educated Vietnam veteran, takes from language is frequently a thing of beauty....Gay, an instinctive original, had the spark of natural genius."
--The Irish Times

"If you fancy a blast of full-on Americana, it's hard to think of anything published recently that blasts in such a brilliantly sustained way--or that makes much of contemporary fiction suddenly seem so bloodless by comparison."
--The Times

"Gay's style was fully formed: sinister and lovely, dark and atmospheric, blood-soaked and word-drunk. He fit squarely in the Southern Gothic tradition, but the languid, unrolling richness of his language made the stories and novels that followed feel fresh, a rebirth of a genre prone to pale imitations."
--Wall Street Journal

"An eerie, stream-of-consciousness drift through storms, death, and mystery in midcentury Tennessee."
--Garden & Gun

"There is so much to be awed by in Gay's new novel and it only makes us miss him all the more, though it is a less-than-subtle reminder of how lucky we are to have had him share his talent with us while he was here. William Gay could write a grocery list and make it sing and burn off the pages in equal measure, and The Lost Country is yet another testament to his undeniable virtuosity with the written word."
--Heavy Feather Review

"William Gay is a flat-out monster. The former protégé of Cormac McCarthy is back from dead, ... preoccupied with a twisted, subversive, yet elegiac representation of a South that takes no heed of where it's been nor where it's going. Get ready for a ride."
--Parnassus Recommended Reads

"A haunting and visceral rendering of the American south."
--The Literary Review

"That Gay was a master storyteller is not news. This book is proof of it. A superb slice of Americana dripped in noir and packed with the kind of gutter poetry that sticks to your ribs way after the last page has been turned, this is one of those gems that will be discussed for years as being part of the new American classics."

"A lyrical ballad dedicated to the denizens of Tennessee...The Lost Country may be considered an Americana classic."

"One of the masters of Southern Gothic delivers another story full of colourfully downtrodden characters, McCarthy-esque prose and whip-poor-wills."
--Various Small Flames

"Gay's midcentury Tennessee is a realm of bad weather and small-town lowlifes, vagrancy laws, and bootleg liquor; every man is a drunk, alternately listless and lustful and violent; every woman is defined by the use she makes (or once made, or will make) of her body. Yet there is humor in this bleakness, and it bubbles up from the same human springs as the cruelty and violence. ... Infidelities, prison breaks, murderous revenge, biblical language, and a deep kinship between the land and its inhabitants--Gay's novel is full-on Southern gothic and will delight fans of the genre."
--Kirkus Reviews

"William Gay's The Lost Country lands like a shimmering gift from the beyond. For those of us who cherish and honor Gay's tremendous talent, his bold method of seeing the waste and wonder we are, this posthumous novel is a reminder of what we miss: the language pitched toward the sublime, his men and women grappling for redemption in a world that has damned them, his understanding of grace in the presence of human badness. When Gay died too soon, we lost much, but The Lost Country gives a piece of him back to us."
-- William Giraldi, author of Hold the Dark

"Like so many fans of William Gay's work I've been waiting to read this seemingly mythical work, The Lost Country, for a quite some time. I still remember the feeling of admiration and awe I got when I read an early copy of his first novel, The Long Home, back in the late nineties and reading this new or lost novel you might call it gave me exactly the same feeling. Gay's elegiac prose sings once again as he breathes life into his characters and mines his patch of soil with the skill of the old masters. The Lost Country is the story of Billy Edgewater and his hard journey through a post World War II South filled with the downtrodden - hucksters, racists, drunks, bad or lost men and women all trying to make it in a harsh rural setting that is unforgiving yet beautiful. It's a helluva good ride and I can't wait to recommend it to readers."
--Cody Morrison, Square Books

"The novel exposes us to a deliciously dark southern underbelly, one that, when paired with its sparse, lean prose and quiet intensity, becomes incredibly mesmerizing."
--The Next Best Book Club