BookBrowse Reviews What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman

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What Is Left the Daughter

A Novel

by Howard Norman

What Is Left the Daughter
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2010, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2011, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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A mesmerizing and morally complex story set in war-time Nova Scotia

Near the end of What Is Left the Daughter, the narrator, Wyatt Hillyer, reflects, "I never believed in the phrase 'it all comes back to me now,' because not all of anything that happened in the past comes back whole cloth." The attempt to reconstruct, understand, and, to a large extent, rationalize the past forms the fascinating subtext of Wyatt's narrative in Norman's tightly crafted novel of love, loss, and wartime.

Like many of Norman's other novels, the protagonist's story begins with a tragedy, when seventeen-year-old Wyatt is orphaned in dramatic fashion in 1941. Forced to start over in the wake of this infamous incident, the young man travels to the small Nova Scotia town of Middle Economy, where his aunt Constance and uncle Donald live. There Uncle Donald teaches Wyatt the trade of building toboggans while Wyatt gradually becomes part of small town life, ...

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