What We've Lost is Nothing

What We've Lost is Nothing

by Rachel Louise Snyder

Overview: 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.

Judy Stanton (07/07/15): An interesting book about real life issues faced in working towards integrating communities in the US. The story takes place in Chicago, but it could be anywhere USA. Several houses on a block are broken into in broad daylight, and the fallout from that event heightens suspicions about neighbors and nearby inner city housing. The story is not about a resolution of the crime, but the journey, focusing on one family where the wife, husband and daughter are changed by the course of events. The Author's Note at the end explains her personal involvement in desegregation programs and gives credibility to the difficulties experienced in trying to bring people together.
Rating: ***

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