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What You Have Left

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What You Have Left Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What You Have Left is an unforgettable story of love, loss, and, most of all, longing.

In 1976, on the day of his wife's funeral, Wylie Greer drops off his five-year-old daughter, Holly, at his father-in-law's dairy farm on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina. Wylie tells her he just needs a little time to clear his head, but thirty years pass before Holly sees her father again — "time I spent wondering what I'd done to make him leave," she says, "and what I could do to make him come back."

What You Have Left is about a father and daughter trying to make their way back to one another across decades of uncertainty and ambivalence — all the while hoping to discover that what they have left is worth salvaging. It's also the story of a grandfather bent on suicide, a pioneering female NASCAR driver, a heartbroken amnesiac, a video poker junkie, and assorted other liars, cheaters, and lovers who, despite their best intentions, never quite live up to their own expectations.

Are we doomed to repeat our parents' mistakes? Can lies save love instead of destroying it? Is letting go the same as giving up? Shot through with sly humor and a knowing sympathy for human weakness, What You Have Left takes up these and other questions as it examines the weight of history, the nature of loss, and the possibility of forgiveness. Making use of bold shifts in viewpoint and time, Allison proves a brilliant observer of the emotional legacies handed down from parent to child and the ways loss defines us. This stunning debut brims with an affection for humanity exactly as it is — in all its ignorance and awareness, its swagger and humility, its despair and hope.

Review:

"Loss and redemption take center stage in story writer Allison's beautifully written debut novel. When five-year-old Holly's mother dies suddenly in the summer of 1976, Holly's father, Wylie, leaves her in the care of her grandfather, Cal, and disappears. Holly's coming-of-age on her grandfather's South Carolina dairy farm is a turbulent one, producing a volatile woman with drinking and gambling problems. She does manage, however, to land a good husband in Cal's contractor, Lyle, and the two have a daughter. Meanwhile, Wylie drinks himself close to death and works odd jobs, while Cal endures the deaths of his wife and daughter with stoic dignity. But an Alzheimer's diagnosis proves too much to bear, leaving Cal to put his affairs in order before making an early, quiet exit. It's more than 15 years later before Holly and Wylie reunite, providing the deeply felt emotional core of this earnest novel. Characters' tension-fraught relationships are well played, and Allison is adept at navigating a labyrinthine web of psychological underpinnings. Though the structure has its stymied moments (chapters are chronologically jumbled and are told in various voices, narrative styles and tenses), the nonlinear narrative gives Allison a trove of angles, and he nails all of them. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

This powerful first novel, shot through with sly humor and a knowing sympathy for human weakness, examines the weight of history, the nature of loss, and the possibility of forgiveness.

Table of Contents

Contents

Chapter One 1991 Holly

Chapter Two 1971 Wylie

Chapter Three 1991 Lyle

Chapter Four 1970 Wylie

Chapter Five 1996 Holly

Chapter Six 2001 Lyle

Chapter Seven 1979 Wylie

Chapter Eight 2007 Holly

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416541394
Author:
Allison, Will
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Southern states
Subject:
Working class families
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
June 2007
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
210
Dimensions:
8.70x6.60x.82 in. .82 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

What You Have Left Used Hardcover
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Product details 210 pages Free Press - English 9781416541394 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Loss and redemption take center stage in story writer Allison's beautifully written debut novel. When five-year-old Holly's mother dies suddenly in the summer of 1976, Holly's father, Wylie, leaves her in the care of her grandfather, Cal, and disappears. Holly's coming-of-age on her grandfather's South Carolina dairy farm is a turbulent one, producing a volatile woman with drinking and gambling problems. She does manage, however, to land a good husband in Cal's contractor, Lyle, and the two have a daughter. Meanwhile, Wylie drinks himself close to death and works odd jobs, while Cal endures the deaths of his wife and daughter with stoic dignity. But an Alzheimer's diagnosis proves too much to bear, leaving Cal to put his affairs in order before making an early, quiet exit. It's more than 15 years later before Holly and Wylie reunite, providing the deeply felt emotional core of this earnest novel. Characters' tension-fraught relationships are well played, and Allison is adept at navigating a labyrinthine web of psychological underpinnings. Though the structure has its stymied moments (chapters are chronologically jumbled and are told in various voices, narrative styles and tenses), the nonlinear narrative gives Allison a trove of angles, and he nails all of them. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , This powerful first novel, shot through with sly humor and a knowing sympathy for human weakness, examines the weight of history, the nature of loss, and the possibility of forgiveness.
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