What Is Left the Daughter
Fans of Howard Norman's The Bird Artist will recognize the venue and the oddball characters in the author's beautiful new novel, What Is Left the Daughter.
In isolated Nova Scotia during WWII, an earnest, if dim, 17-year-old
named Wyatt Hillyer is orphaned when both his parents commit suicide
over their love for the same woman. Taken in by his uncle in nearby,
optimistically named Middle Economy, Wyatt is apprenticed to the family
toboggan business, and trying to win the affections of his headstrong
cousin, Tilda, who, alas, is betrothed to another. (Years later, the
cousins do spend a night together. As Wyatt reports, with proud
understatement: "No dictionary definition of love might apply to what
happened...but my choice is not to consult a dictionary.") This is an
old story of unrequited love, but thanks to the delightfully weird
details (Tilda rents herself out as a professional mourner at strangers'
funerals), Norman turns a tiny town into an entire world in which even
the most heinous sins can—almost—be forgiven.
— Sara Nelson