Nestled on the edge of Chicago's gritty west side, Oak Park is a suburb in flux. To the west, theaters and shops frame posh homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To the east lies a neighborhood trying desperately to recover from urban decline. Although the community's Diversity Assurance program has curbed the destructive racial housing practices that migrated from Chicago's notorious west side over the past decades, cultural and racial integration has been tenuous at best.
In the center of the community sits Ilios Lane, a pristine cul-de-sac dotted with quiet homes that bridge Oak Park's extremes of wealth and poverty. On the first warm day in April, as Mary Elizabeth McPherson, a lifelong resident of Ilios Lane plays hooky from high school, a series of home invasions rock her neighborhood. A shocking act of violence and another of unexpected compassion in the wake of the burglaries leave the entire community indelibly altered, while the residents of Ilios Lane are thrust into an uneasy alliance and must take stock of the world they believed they lived in - and the world many of them were attempting to create. Snyder builds the story with subtle suspense, leading ultimately to an explosive conclusion.
Incisive and panoramic, What We've Lost Is Nothing weaves together an impressive cast of characters, whose lives collide in the wake of disaster. In this powerful fiction debut, Rachel Louise Snyder sheds light on the gray area where idealism confronts reality.
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"Snyder's debut is smooth and engaging, and reads like the work of a veteran novelist." - Publishers Weekly
"Veteran journalist Snyder crafts a muscular and fearless debut novel that boldly tackles the heady themes of prejudice, self-preservation, poverty and privilege." - Booklist
"Snyder's writing is crisp and clean and the premise is unique, but readers may find the characters less than compelling." - KIrkus
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Rachel Louise Snyder is a writer, professor and public radio commentator. Her first book Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade was published in 2007 by WW Norton. An excerpt of the book -aired on This American Life and won an Overseas Press Club Award. Her second book, a novel set in Oak Park, Illinois and entitled What We've Lost is Nothing will be published in January, 2014 by Scribner. Snyder's print work has also appeared in the the New Yorker, New York Times magazine, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Men's Journal, Jane, Travel and Leisure, the New Republic, Redbook and Glamour. She hosted the nationally-syndicated global affairs series "Latitudes" on public radio, and her stories have aired on Marketplace and All Things Considered. Snyder has traveled to more than 50 countries and lived in London from 1999 - 2001 and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 2003 - 2009. In the summer of 2009, she relocated to Washington, DC, where she is currently an assistant professor in the MFA creative writing program at American University.
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