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What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman
What Is Left the Daughter is written as a long letter from Wyatt Hillyer to his estranged daughter Marlais on her twenty-first birthday. He recounts the circumstances that led to this estrangement that occurred during World War II. Wyatt was orphaned at 17 by the suicides of both of his parents, and he went to live with his aunt and uncle in Nova Scotia. Also living with them is their adopted daughter, Tilda. Wyatt is instantly attracted to her, but her heart belongs to a German refugee. Wyatt's uncle is obsessed with the potential dangers the Germans pose to Canada. When a ferry is attacked by a German U-boat, a clash of circumstances and rash behavior tears Wyatt's life apart. Howard Norman's novel has received positive reviews with the Los Angeles Times saying, "The epistolary form of this novel is a cri de coeur from an author faithful to the printed word in a time of promiscuous texting, friending and tweeting. Students today who can't write in cursive are able to e-mail across the world. The reflective, personal storytelling in What Is Left the Daughter reminds us of the potential beauty, intimacy and wisdom offered by two endangered genres - the letter and the novel."