Howard Norman "What Is Left the Daughter"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 5:00pm

Howard NormanHoward Norman signs What is Left the Daughter at Off Square Books.

Howard Norman is the author of a number of acclaimed novels, including The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard, and The Northern Lights. Lorrie Moore said that “any novel by Howard Norman is cause for celebration,” but his new book, What Is Left The Daughter, is a triumph, and will bring this writer considerably broader recognition. Seventeen year-old Wyatt Hillyer is orphaned when his parents leap to their deaths from different bridges in Halifax, Nova Scotia—the fateful consequence of a menage a trois with the next-door neighbor. Wyatt moves in with his aunt and uncle in the nearby small town of Middle Economy, where his uncle takes him on as an apprentice maker of sleds and toboggans. Wyatt starts life anew in this modest environment whose chief distraction is his aunt and uncle’s ravishing adopted daughter, Tilda, who is Wyatt’s age. As World War II German U-boats patrol the waters of the St. Lawrence River, a young German exchange student in the area crosses paths with Tilda and Wyatt, setting off a series of life-altering events for all the characters. Norman’s sparse prose blends a mystery, a love story, and a war story, told in Wyatt’s voice and brought to life with thrilling suspense in the form of a letter to his daughter written twenty five years after events have occurred. What Is Left The Daughter is one of the most accomplished novels of recent years and immensely satisfying reading; I read it several months ago and already want to read it again. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Howard Norman. RH