What We’ve Lost Is Nothing

Rachel Louise Snyder. Scribner, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-2517-8
Snyder’s debut concerns the fallout from a mass burglary in 2004 in comfortable Oak Park, Ill., famed for its Diversity Assurance program, an experiment in integration. Referring to the insignificant stolen goods, such as CDs and a lawn edger, and to the fact that nobody was harmed during the robberies, resident Michael McPherson is quoted in the local paper as saying, “What we’ve lost is nothing.” However, many community members wonder—some covertly, some overtly—whether the perpetrators are from an adjacent poor, black neighborhood in west Chicago. Later, Michael wonders if “they had lost something so enormous there existed no name for it.” Supplementing Snyder’s explorations of community and prejudice are the nuanced portraits of the neighbors/victims, including a nearly blind former professor, a Cambodian immigrant family, and Michael’s wife, Susan, a passionate believer in the Diversity Assurance program. Another narrative thread concerns the relationship of teenage Mary Elizabeth, Michael and Susan’s daughter, with a bad boy. The relationship, and the book, builds to an incident of shocking violence. Snyder’s debut is smooth and engaging, and reads like the work of a veteran novelist. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/21/2013
Release date: 01/21/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-2522-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-2520-8
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