Title: What We've Lost is Nothing
Author: Rachel Louise Snyder
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Number of Pages: 320
How I Got It: NetGalley
In her striking debut novel, Rachel Louise Snyder chronicles the twenty-four hours following a mass burglary in a Chicago suburb and the suspicions, secrets, and prejudices that surface in its wake.
Nestled on the edge of Chicago’s gritty west side, Oak Park is a suburb in flux. To the west, theaters and shops frame posh houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To the east lies a neighborhood still recovering from urban decline. In the center of the community sits Ilios Lane, a pristine cul-de-sac dotted with quiet homes that bridge the surrounding extremes of wealth and poverty.
On the first warm day in April, Mary Elizabeth McPherson, a lifelong resident of Ilios Lane, skips school with her friend Sofia. As the two experiment with a heavy dose of ecstasy in Mary Elizabeth’s dining room, a series of home invasions rocks their neighborhood. At first the community is determined to band together, but rising suspicions soon threaten to destroy the world they were attempting to create. Filtered through a vibrant pinwheel of characters, Snyder’s tour de force evokes the heightened tension of a community on edge as it builds toward one of the most explosive conclusions in recent fiction. Incisive and panoramic, What We’ve Lost is Nothing illuminates the evolving relationship between American cities and their suburbs, the hidden prejudices that can threaten a way of life, and the redemptive power of tolerance in a community torn asunder.
My suburban neighborhood had a string of break-ins last autumn where the burglars were knocking on front doors and when no one answered they would break into the house from a back door or window (often unlocked,) open garage from inside the house, pull car into garage and load their vehicle with whatever they wanted. So when I read the description, my interest was piqued. Add to the shock of the middle of the day burglaries finger pointing and underlying racism of a community in transition and you are set for a combustible mix. What We've Lost is Nothing is a great novel for character studies. Snyder flushes out the suspicions that lie just below the surface among neighbors. This book would be a good book club choice and I'd like to hear from anyone else who has read it because I have a couple questions myself but won't post here for fear of spoilers.
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **