Extended Audio Sample

Download What Is Left the Daughter Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample What Is Left the Daughter Audiobook, by Howard Norman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,473 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Howard Norman Narrator: Bronson Pinchot Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781455199525
Regular Price: $16.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Howard Norman, widely regarded as one of this country’s 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 novel’s chain of life-altering passions, and the wartime perfidy at its core, is the arrival of German student Hans Mohring, carrying only a satchel. Actual historical incidents—including a German U-boat’s sinking of the Nova Scotia–Newfoundland ferry Caribou, on which Aunt Constance Hillyer might or might not be traveling—lend intense narrative power to Norman’s uncannily layered story.

Wyatt’s account of the astonishing events leading up to his fathering of a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. It’s 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.

Download and start listening now!

BK_BLAK_003854

Quotes & Awards

  • “[What Is Left the Daughter] starts off with a bang—or, rather, a splash…Howard Norman is a gentle, deliberate writer, and his humor is smart and dry [in this] novel about the illogic of love and the violent chaos it leaves in its wake.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[An] intricately beautiful story about love, jealousy, war, prejudice, survival, and a library.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “There is an archaic simplicity and precision, a narrow tonal register, to Norman’s prose. English is not usually written this way; it certainly is not spoken this way. Yet in Norman’s deft handling, the poetry of prose, although highly stylized, is exploited to full effect.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Spellbinding…Norman renders wartime Nova Scotia so vividly, the salty damp seems to seep into your bones.”

    People

  • “The latest from master of precision Howard Norman is again set in the gray majesty of Nova Scotia…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.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “An expertly crafted tale of love during wartime…Norman’s writing is effortless, and his plot is grand in scope but studded with moments of tenderness and intimacy that help crystallize the anxiety and weariness of life on the home front. That Norman is able to achieve so much in 250 pages is a testament to his mastery of the craft.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Bronson Pinchot bestows his performance of love and loss with an emotional yet guileless appeal. He believably produces German, Irish, and Canadian accents while also remaining true to Wyatt’s clear voice and naïve character. Beautifully performed with subtle grace, this distinctive interpretation of historical events unfolds a poignant wartime confession of despair and hope.”

    AudioFile

  • “[In this] quiet but intensely affecting novel…Bronson Pinchot’s finely muted narration captures every nuance of Norman’s atmospheric, subtly shaped tale.”

    BookPage

  • “Norman…scores again with this gripping account of a family ripped apart by obsession and murder…Norman has developed this brave, emotionally reticent man with great delicacy. It is extraordinary that a story which carries such a weight of sorrow is never depressing, but Norman the master craftsman pulls it off.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  •   On Oprah’s Summer Reading List for 2010
  •  An Amazon Best Books of the Month of July 2010
  •  One of 2010 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books
  • Selected for the July 2010 Indie Next List
  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzanne | 2/2/2014

    " A very compelling read which tells the story of a young man wrenched by circumstance and numbly trying to make the best of a bewildering life. Wyatt Hillyer stumbles through his bad luck with a sweetness and hope that engenders the reader's sympathy and concern. You really want him to come out okay. The story moves quickly and forcefully revealing a fascinating glimpse into wartime Novia Scotia and the possibilities of even the narrowest of lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 1/31/2014

    " I enjoyed this, but didn't love it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dulcye | 1/24/2014

    " Good beginning, lost interest towards the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 1/13/2014

    " This book was very touching. Wyatt Hilyer's parents had jumped off different bridges on the same night with in hours of each other. They were both romantically involved with the same woman who was a switchboard operator and an expiring actress. What a base for a story I thought, so I checked it out. At the time of his parents death, Wyatt was seventeen. He dropped out of school and moved in with his Aunt and Uncle. He became an apprentice to his uncle learning to make sleds and toboggans. He tells his story in a series of letters written to his daughter. His life is full of sadness. This book is worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 1/11/2014

    " Interesting historical fiction - very dark... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 1/8/2014

    " Very boring. It was a story. I'm not sure why he wrote it. None of the characters had much character and, while they had plenty of opportunities, they never did anything. Two stars for writing well, but what was the point. What is left the reader? Nothing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chelsea Heath | 1/7/2014

    " Interesting story, definitely a different style than I've encountered before. I enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin | 1/5/2014

    " I think I would have liked this better if I read it instead of listening to it. An engaging, beautiful and heartbreaking story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Naomi | 12/30/2013

    " What I can say most about this book is that it really didn't *pop* for me. It was a short read, yet I have already forgotten the majority of the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amber | 12/29/2013

    " Couldn't connect with any of the characters and it was very slow reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shay (Shannon) | 12/27/2013

    " A great story about relationships, especially one about a father and daughter. I was emotional throughout but so involved in the characters and the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alison Miller-astor | 12/24/2013

    " I found this book to be "eh"... I liked it enough to finish it, but that's about it. Barely interesting story, barely interesting characters. Not something I'd recommend when there's so much more out there to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet Schneider | 12/19/2013

    " Readable. Unusual tone. Nova Scotia setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 12/5/2013

    " Spare, simple and beautifully crafted, I loved almost everything about this book. Recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jayne | 7/31/2013

    " This is a good story - raw and honest. It also connected with me because the setting is the very place we just camped in Nova Scotia. And - it makes it so clear how threatened North America was threatened by German invasion during WW II. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 2/3/2013

    " SOOOOOOOOOO SLOW. the most exciting part came about halfway through. ugh. don't know how I even finished it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Northshire Bookstore | 1/25/2013

    " This is a dark and sumptuous novel set in western Nova Scotia before, during and after WWII. The uniquely Canadian perspective on the war combines with complex, finely drawn characters and a narrative rich with atmosphere to enthrall any reader. Great storytelling. -- Karen F. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Toni Gorman | 10/13/2012

    " Not YA "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nick Moran | 8/14/2012

    " What a snoozer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy Beaty | 2/24/2012

    " I am a fan of Howard Norman and had high expectations for this book. It was good but somehow unsatisfying. I liked the technique of the protagonist writing a letter. The book would have been better with a tighter story and more editing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 son pham | 2/24/2012

    " Another gem of a novel from Howard Norman. The novel leaves you "lingering" for more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheri Radford | 10/2/2011

    " The author beautifully captures Canada during World War II. I greatly enjoyed reading the bulk of this book, but I felt the plot fizzled out in the end and not much really happened. I was left wondering what the overall point of the book was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 6/26/2011

    " A letter written by a father to a daughter he hardly knew, setting down the story of his and her mother's life in Nova Scotia during WW2 - so glad I didn't give up after listening to Disc 1 and was left wanting to know the "rest of the story". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 5/19/2011

    " Had mixed feelings about the ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nan | 5/2/2011

    " Listened to this in audio form. A very interesting story and a great listen.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donald | 5/1/2011

    " The story opens in 1967 with a letter to 21 year-old Marlais relating to her events that took place in 1942. The setting is Nova Scotia. The small town life on the island is disrupted when German U-boats lurk off the coast. Tensions are high and tragedy ensues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeannette | 5/1/2011

    " I enjoyed this easy style of this narrative and reflective story, based on history, and told through reliable fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 5/1/2011

    " This one delves deeply into complex emotions and illustrates the long-reaching consequences of one's actions. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tamara | 5/1/2011

    " I felt very misled by the book jacket and marketing blurbs. The story was not about his parents' conflict at all, nor really about the woman who supposedly was the impetus for their suicides. I found little memorable about this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ira | 4/19/2011

    " Why did I put myself through this torture? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 4/13/2011

    " Set in Nova Scotia during WWII, I learned about the threat of U Boats to America, very interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 4/4/2011

    " Book club book. Found the story interesting and sad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 3/30/2011

    " SOOOOOOOOOO SLOW. the most exciting part came about halfway through. ugh. don't know how I even finished it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elisabeth | 3/23/2011

    " Plot was a bit strange, but enjoyed the Canadian flavor throughout. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathleen | 3/11/2011

    " Strange tale. It meandered, but I liked the format of Wyatt Hillyer's letter to his daughter. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

Howard Norman is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His novels The Northern Lights and The Bird Artist were nominated for National Book Awards. His books have been translated into twelve languages. He lives in Washington, DC, and Vermont with his wife and daughter.

About the Narrator

Bronson Pinchot, an Audie Award–winning narrator and Audible’s Narrator of the Year for 2010, received his education at Yale University, which filled out what he had already received at his mother’s knee in the all-important areas of Shakespeare, Greek art and architecture, and the Italian Renaissance. He restores Greek Revival buildings and appears in television, film, and on stage whenever the pilasters and entablatures overwhelm him.