Alison's Reviews > What Is Left the Daughter

What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman
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's review
Nov 24, 2010

really liked it
Read from November 24 to 26, 2010

I really read through this book, finished in one day. It moves fast and I just couldn't put it down. The plot twists and drama, things that would seem unbelievable in most books, seemed completely natural here. The setting, though I've never been to Canada, was vivid and rich.

I had a few complaints. Maybe it was just me, but I felt like I was kept at arms length from the characters. I observed them, but I couldn't know what was really going on, what they were really feeling. I think this bothered me most with Wyatt because the book is in first person - and it's a letter to his daughter. But then again, he doesn't really know his daughter, so that might be my explanation right there.

I also wanted to know more about Wyatt's parents' suicides. The buildup and explanation was so rich in the other dramatic deaths - Aunt's on the ferry boat hit by the u-boat, and Hans's by Uncle's hand - that I felt this was extremely lacking. Even when Wyatt talks to Reese Mac Isaac later in the book, nothing really comes to light. That frustrated me and felt like kind of a hole in the plot.

That said, I really enjoyed reading a novel by a UMD professor. I will probably seek out more of his previous writings. And a note on character names: there are two professors in the English Dept. at UMD named Wyatt (main character's name) and Auchard (name of boat owner's attorney who quits). Thought that was very interesting!

Also, have to say, I love the cover!

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