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What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman
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What Is Left the Daughter

by Howard Norman

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman. Why does the title not make sense? Does it need punctuation? Is it a run on sentence? What is the deal?
I couldn’t wait to read one of Howard Norman’s books. I have heard so many great things about them. He has won awards for his writing, but this book was just a little disappointing and a little odd. At first you will think the book is dull and you may want to give up, but don’t. There is a lot of drama in the middle that you will not see coming.
I am really at a loss about what to say about this book. I don’t know if I recommend it or not. I can’t say much about it without giving it away. I was very fond of the characters, just thought it could’ve been better. So I will share with you what Publisher’s Weekly had to say and you can decide for yourself  I will be trying his other books. They have potential to be very good.
From Publishers Weekly: Set on the Atlantic coast of Canada during WWII, Norman's latest is an expertly crafted tale of love during wartime. Wyatt Hillyer loses both his parents on the same day when they jump from different bridges in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after they discover they are both having affairs with the woman next door. Wyatt's aunt and uncle take him in, and Wyatt becomes his uncle's apprentice in his sled and toboggan business and, despite the circumstances, soon falls in love with his adopted cousin, Tilda. Yet he must resign himself to loving from a distance when Tilda brings home Hans Moehring, a German university student. The two begin a courstip and Tilda's father becoming increasingly uneasy about this potential enemy in their midst. His plot explores the anxiety and weariness of life on the home front during war. ( )
  dawnlovesbooks | Jul 15, 2017 |
I really enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book. Rich characters, poignant yet funny, and set in Nova Scotia, a place I know well enough to feel like I was in the story.

( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
An epistolary novel written from a father to his daughter set mostly in and around WW2. It's not that I disliked this book for any reason rather it's just that I didn't like it for any reason. Best part was that it was short so I didn't have to either give up and not finish (which I hate to do) or suffer thru it for too long (which I hate more). There were so many good choices to be had with 2010 as the tag and I had to pick this dud. Oh well, onto a new book.
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  Charlie-Ravioli | Jan 18, 2016 |
A quiet story about a man trying to live with the circumstances of his life; some he's responsible for and others he's not. The daughter referred to in the title is his own, as the entire narrative is a letter to her, but she's not the only daughter with a less than perfect relationship with her father. Wyatt's story starts when his parents commit suicide by leaping from different bridges within hours of each other. Old enough to live on his own, he instead chooses to live with his aunt and uncle in a remote village in Nova Scotia. There he meets his cousin Tilda and falls in love.

Over the next decades there is a lot of loss, but also moments of satisfaction and serenity for Wyatt. The sled and toboggan business is so quaint and such an acquired skill that I think it's an excellent stand in for Wyatt's temperament. Given that he never really gets the girl, is sent to prison, made so uncomfortable at home that he leaves town and is estranged from his daughter, you'd think that would make for a bitter, angry person. Wyatt is sanguine though; accepting what he's done himself and what happens at the hands of others. Maybe that's what kept this from being a really emotional book for me; that Wyatt seemed so utterly controlled and unaffected. The story was told skillfully and had many surprises so I will seek out more by this author. ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | Jul 30, 2015 |
Wyatt Hillyer has been estranged from his daughter for most of her life. One night in 1967 he decides to sit down and write a letter to send his daughter on her 21st birthday. The letter tells the story of his life, and thereby her life. It is difficult to describe this book. It has moments of dark humour (both Mike’s parents died on the same night, by jumping off separate bridges because of their guilt over an affair … with the same person), moments of desperation (the accidental killing of a german student during WWII during the war-fearing frenzy in the Maritimes) and it is populated by a cast of ecccentric characters. It all combines well into a memorable tale.

I have not read Mr. Norman before, but if this is an example of his story telling ability I will definitely be picking up more.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
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I refuse any longer to have my life defined by what I haven't told you.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618735437, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2010: On a stormy Nova Scotia night in 1967, the loner Wyatt Hillyer has come to terms with his life's choices and self-imposed separation from his daughter Marlais. Realizing that one of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is an honest picture of himself, Wyatt has decided to write his memoirs in the form of a letter on the occasion of Marlais' twenty-first birthday. With great clarity and economy he slowly discloses the events of his parents’ scandalous deaths in 1941, his teenage years living with his aunt and uncle, the joys of fatherhood, and what led to his abandoning his only daughter and her mother. Returning to Canada's Maritime provinces in his latest novel, What Is Left the Daughter, acclaimed author Howard Norman has created an unpredictable and absorbing story of an imperfect and tragic life at a turning point. This short and potent novel will leave readers replaying events and reconsidering Wyatt and the other unique characters long after reading the final pages. --Lauren Nemroff

Product Description
Howard Norman, widely regarded as one of this country's finest novelists, returns to the mesmerizing fictional terrain of his major books--The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard, and The Haunting of L--in this erotically charged and morally complex story.

Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridges--the result of their separate involvements with the same compelling neighbor, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and ravishing cousin Tilda.

Setting in motion the novel's chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring, carrying only a satchel. Actual historical incidents--including a German U-boat's sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou, on which Aunt Constance Hillyer might or might not be traveling--lend intense narrative power to Norman's uncannily layered story.

Wyatt's account of the astonishing--not least to him--events leading up to his fathering of a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. It's a confession that speaks profoundly of the mysteries of human character in wartime and is directed, with both despair and hope, to an audience of one.

An utterly stirring novel. This is Howard Norman at his celebrated best.



(see all 2 descriptions)

Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridges--the result of their separate involvements with the same compelling neighbor, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and cousin Tilda. Wyatt's account of the astonishing--not least to him--events leading up to his fathering of a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. It's a confession that speaks profoundly of the mysteries of human character in wartime and is directed, with both despair and hope, to an audience of one.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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