Thursday, 19 August 2010

Norman no mates

Overlooked seemingly everywhere bar his native USA (including Canada, where much of his work is set), I must recommend the latest novel by Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist and The Museum Guard. What Is Left the Daughter shares many of Norman's favourite themes, including a boy left orphaned (Wyatt Hillyer's mother and father kill themselves on the same evening by jumping off different bridges after having affairs with the same woman), radios (a neighbour agrees to look after Wyatt's home if he can turn on his late mother's collection of 58 sets simultaneously one evening), and living in hotels. Oh, and murder, love and regret. It may be Norman's most successful work; the idea of characters scripting their own obituaries before their deaths tickled me, though I would have liked an appendix where they were printed out in full.

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