04 August 2010

Howard Norman, folks. He's amazing!

Howard Norman’s new novel, What is Left the Daughter, was actually the Odyssey Bookshop’s July selection for our signed first editions club. He was originally scheduled to come to our store for an event but he had to cancel due to a family emergency. So Joan Grenier (the co-owner) and I had made a little trek to Saratoga Springs, NY, to meet Norman and to get our books signed for the club. He was as sweet and unassuming as can be and we enjoyed our time with him very much. Here's hoping he'll be able to make an Odyssey appearance on the next go-round!

There are some authors out there who, when you hear they have a new book coming out, just make you sit up and take notice, and Howard Norman is one of them. This is the story of a man named Wyatt, whose tragedy-marked early life seems to start a trajectory of doomed events over which he has no control. In the opening sequence, we learn that his mother and father commit suicide on the same day, each jumping off a bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, because they are both in love with the same neighbor woman. Wyatt is then taken in by his aunt and uncle, where he apprentices with his uncle to build world-class toboggans and not incidentally, falls in love with his adopted cousin, Tilda. Meanwhile tensions are building over World War II, and when Tilda falls in love with a German student at her university, it sets yet another tragedy in motion. This quiet novel is really about the provinciality of small towns, particularly economically depressed ones, and all of the attendant yearnings, prejudices, and dreams of escape associated therein. Norman’s deceptively simple prose is poignant and fitting, reminding us that life doesn’t usually come with Hollywood endings.

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a read that must be! I love the book cover! Emily, You're invited to stop by A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings and Levonne's Pretty Pics when you have a few minutes! I'd love to hear what you think.


Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)