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What We've Lost is Nothing: A Novel by: Rachel Louise Snyder

What We've Lost is Nothing: A Novel by: Rachel Louise Snyder

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Published by Simon and Schuster
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.
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.

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: Simon and Schuster on Dec 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/24/2014

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1
Prologue
 Wednesday, April 7, 2004, 3:20 p.m.
M
ary Elizabeth McPherson could feel Caz’s hand slide down her lower back and into her back pocket. He surrepti-tiously handed her a joint, and she took a deep, adrenaline-fueled toke, cupping it in her palm as she’d seen him do. She held the cough until her eyes watered, looking away from Caz, toward the asty Dog, where she and her friends sometimes shared milk shakes and hot dogs on the weekends. A wallet chain jingled against Caz’s hip. His faded jean jacket quietly shifted on his shoulders, made him seem bigger than he was. She slid the joint back to Caz and exhaled. He took a hit, held it a second, then leaned in and blew the smoke gently across her face in what she interpreted as deeply romantic.Caz was known for cutting class, known for his rap sheet, which included multiple school suspensions and carrying around a dulled fishing knife with a broken tip; he was also known for maintaining a deep and abiding contempt for anyone with authority. Once, back
 
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Prologue 
in his freshman math class two years earlier, he’d fallen asleep and Mr. Fonseca came up and squeezed his wrist tighter and tighter till he woke up. Without lifting his head, Caz had said, “Get your fuck-ing hand off me, dickwad.” Fifteen years old. He got slapped with a three-day suspension, which only amplified his reputation, the hushed reverence with which kids approached him. A god of anger and contempt. Also: gorgeous. Mary wondered if he was this way at home, with his parents, or whether it was all for show.Keep the conversation going, she told herself, keep him talk-ing about things that mattered to him.
But what mattered to him?
Having never before been the object of a boy’s fascination,
any boy 
, let alone a boy such as Caz, left Mary flustered. She recognized this moment as one of those rare opportunities in life where one might shuffle one’s standing in the high school caste system, and she knew it was only the burglaries the day before that catapulted her into Caz’s periphery at all. When he’d sidled up to her that morning in class and said simply, “See you at lunch,” a revelation had presented itself to her. It was the first time Caz had acknowledged her in their two years at Oak Park River Forest High, all because of the burglar-ies on her street. News reporters had flocked to their house the day before, and her whole family appeared on television. A garden- variety home invasion wouldn’t have boosted Mary’s social capital, but one element of the story had spread through the halls before the first bell even rang. During the burglary Mary Elizabeth had been home.She fielded a flurry of questions between classes.Mary, were you scared?
Not really.
Did you see them?
No.
Did you hear them break the door down?

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