Archives for: February 2012


Categories: Canadian, Historical

Howard A. Norman: What is left the daughter

What is left the daughter by Howard A. Norman

Here's what Booklist had to say: /* Starred Review */ A victim of unrequited love, Wyatt Hillyer has lived a half-life. Now that his daughter, whom he does not know, is turning 21, he is determined to give her the only bequest he can, his story. And what a staggering tale of cruel coincidences it is. Norman continues his bewitching Canadian cycle of novels (The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L) shaped by mysterious confluences and devastating loss, unsought premonitions and messages from the dead. Like The Museum Guard, this haunting saga takes place in Nova Scotia during WWII.

Wyatt’s descent into sorrow begins with his parents’ scandalous deaths. Given shelter by his practical and wise Aunt Constance and gruff Uncle Donald, teenage Wyatt falls hopelessly in love with their book-struck adopted daughter, Tilda, who unnerves everyone by becoming a professional mourner and marrying a German exchange student while German U-boats prowl the coast. An operatic sequence of bloody tragedies ensues, leaving Wyatt soul-battered and penitential. Norman’s piquant insights into life’s wildness, human eccentricity, and love’s maddening persistence are matched by rhapsodic and profound descriptions of everything from perfectly baked scones to pelting rain and the devouring sea, while anguish is tempered with humor, thanks to rapid-fire banter and marvelously spiky characters.

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Read-alikes suggested by NoveList:

The final solution
Chabon, Michael

Captain Corelli's mandolin
De Bernieres, Louis

The sealed letter
Donoghue, Emma

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