Synopses & Reviews
Howard Norman, widely regarded as one of this countrys 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 novels 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-boats sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou, on which Aunt Constance Hillyer might or might not be traveling—lend intense narrative power to Normans uncannily layered story.
Wyatts account of the astonishing—not least to him— events leading up to his fathering of a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. Its 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.
Beautifully conjures a place and its people, in an extraordinary time . . . a rare gem.”Claire Messud
A beautiful, ambitious novel that takes the reader into the most personal corner of war. It is emotionally resonant and perfectly rendered.”Ann Patchett
"A memorable writer of sinewy intelligence and rare grace." -- David Mitchell
An ambitious, layered meditation on what it means to be from a particular place . . . Ideas do more than gird the novels absorbing world; they animate it. Daviess achievement is significant.” -- Jennifer Egan The New York Times Book Review
If you loved The English Patient, theres probably a place in your heart for The Welsh Girl . . .evocative.” USA Today
"Peter Ho Davies, whose short stories over the past decade have demonstrated his quicksilver brilliance with the material of ordinary lives, has at last taken the plunge and produced a novel. Sentence by sentence, character by character, scene by scene, it's one of the best of the winter so far." -- Alan Cheuse The Chicago Tribune
Daviess characters are marvelously nuanced.” The Los Angeles Times
Davies appears to be able to inhabit anyone.” Newsday
Resonates with an authenticity that had to be earned . . . The specifics of Esthers world . .. grant the novel a moody authority reminiscent of another age.” --Gail Caldwell Boston Globe
" Davies employs an elegant, cinematic prose . . .This is a deeply felt, deeply imagined novel, and its characters remain a presence after the book is closed in the way that one walks off from an opera, still hearing the melodies." -- Stuart Dybek
"[A] beautifully written story of life and love on the outskirts of war. . . This first novel by Davies. . . has been anticipated - and with its wonderfully drawn characters, it has been worth the wait." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
"In this skilled, beautifully empathic novel, the intersection of English troops, German POWs, and Welsh families with their flocks yields surprising insights into what it means to have a territory. Peter Ho Davies is a wonderful writer." -- Andrea Barrett
PRAISE FOR MY ENEMY'S CRADLE "Young's youthful characters--especially her heroine, Cyrla--are utterly believable, their longings, fears and hopes etched with an authenticity and sense of urgency that make this story vibrate on the page . . . Intensely romantic in a way that only wartime fiction can be. And it invokes, with a bit of an ache, Anne Frank's optimistic belief in happy endings."--USA Today "Sara Young shines a powerful flashlight on one of the lesser-known Nazi atrocities: the thievery of children from their mothers. Young's research is so scrupulous that when devouring this novel, you'll swear you're reading a genuine survivor account."--Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us
"The quiet power of this book comes on slowly and unrelentingly, offering a mesmerizing look into one mans past. Creating one of the most captivating and effective uses of the retrospective letter format in recent memory, Normans prose is understated, eloquent and perfectly chosen, and his novel paints a picture of one mans legacy that will not soon be lost."
—BookPage "The latest from master of precision Howard Norman is again set in the gray majesty of Nova Scotia, where 17-year-old orphan Wyatt Hillyer moves in with his devoted aunt and uncle and their adopted daughter, Tilda, the love of stoic Wyatt's life. The ravages of Hitler and his dastardly German U-boats lurking beneath Canadian waters hit their home hard. In What Is Left the Daughter, Norman writes with spare elegance and dry humor, and the extraordinary emotional power of his slim new novel is earned with authentic grace.
Set in the stunning landscape of North Wales just after D-Day, Peter Ho Daviess profoundly moving first novel traces the intersection of disparate lives in wartime. When a POW camp is established near her village, seventeen-year-old barmaid Esther Evans finds herself strangely drawn to the camp and its forlorn captives. She is exploring the camp boundary when the astonishing occurs: Karsten, a young German corporal, calls out to her from behind the fence. From that moment on, the two foster a secret relationship that will ultimately put them both at risk. Meanwhile, another foreigner, the German-Jewish interrogator Rotherham, travels to Wales to investigate Britain's most notorious Nazi prisoner, Rudolf Hess. In this richly drawn and thought-provoking work, all will come to question where they belong and where their loyalties lie.
“A novel about the illogic of love and the violent chaos it leaves in its wake.”—New York Times
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 woman, 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 novels chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring. Actual historical incidents—including a German U-boats sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou—lend intense narrative power to Normans uncannily layered story.
Wyatts account of the astonishing events leading up to his fathering a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. An utterly stirring novel, What Is Left the Daughter is Howard Norman at his celebrated best.
“Norman writes with spare elegance and dry humor, and the extraordinary emotional power of his slim new novel is earned with authentic grace.
Cyrla's neighbors have begun to whisper. Her cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the rigorous exams for admission to the Lebensborn, a maternity home for girls carrying German babies. But Anneke's soldier has disappeared, and Lebensborn babies are only ever released to their fathers' custody--or taken away.
And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. A note is left under the mat. Someone knows that Cyrla, sent for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. She must choose between certain discovery in her cousin's home and taking Anneke's place in the Lebensborn--Cyrla and Anneke are nearly identical. If she takes refuge in the enemy's lair, can Cyrla escape before they discover she is not who she claims?
Mining a lost piece of history, Sara Young takes us deep into the lives of women living in the worst of times. Part love story and part elegy for the terrible choices we must often make to survive, My Enemy's Cradle keens for what we lose in war and sings for the hope we sometimes find.
A novel about the murder of a German youth in Canada during WWII.
About the Author
Like many of Howard Normans celebrated novels, this intense and intriguingly unconventional love story begins with a crime. David Kozol has assaulted his father-in-law on a London street. What could possibly enrage David enough that he would strike the father of his new bride? Why would William, the gentle caretaker of an estate in Nova Scotia along with its flock of swans be so angry at the man who has just married his beloved daughter Maggie? And what would lead Maggie to believe that David has been unfaithful to her?
At its core, Devotion is an elegantly constructed, unsparing examination of love in its various forms -- romantic, filial -- and of course, love for the vast open spaces of the natural world.Howard Norman has been nominated twice for the National Book Award and has received the Lannan Award for fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a Whiting Award. He is the author of five previous novels, including The Bird Artist and The Northern Lights, two memoirs, and many books for children.
He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.