What We've Lost is Nothing
From an NPR contributor and investigative journalist, a striking debut novel that chronicles the first twenty-four hours after a mass burglary in a suburban Chicago neighborhood 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 east, theaters and shops frame posh homes and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To the west lies a neighborhood still reeling from urban decline. Although the community’s Diversity Assurance program has curbed Chicago’s destructive racial housing practices over the past few decades, cultural integration has been tenuous at best.
In the center of the community sits Ilios Lane, a pristine cul-de-sac dotted with quiet homes that bridge Oak Park’s extremes of wealth and poverty. On the first warm day in April, as Mary Elizabeth McPherson, a lifelong resident of Ilios Lane plays hooky from high school, a series of home invasions rock her neighborhood. Thrust into an uneasy alliance with the neighbors around them, the residents of Ilios Lane must take stock of the world they believed they lived in;and the world many of them were attempting to create.
Incisive and panoramic, What We’ve Lost Is Nothing weaves together an impressive cast of characters, whose lives collide in the wake of disaster. In this powerful fiction debut, Rachel Louise Snyder sheds light on the gray area where ideals confront reality.
She ran past crumbling brownstones, large brick apartment buildings with busted windows and broken bottles sprinkled across the entryways. There were dirt lawns, no flowers, no children on the sidewalks pushing themselves on wobbly scooters. Through a few windows she could make out the flashes of television sets as she passed, she could hear the bass thumping of rap and hip hop. She tripped in a pothole, landed hard on her foot, righted herself. The boys shook with laughter. She ran past an abandoned brick building with multi-colored asphalt shingles. She slipped on a flattened paper sack from McDonald’s. Chain link fences waist high ran along the sidewalk in front of nearly every house. But she heard no human sounds, save for the boys following her, collapsing with laughter. She could feel her leg muscles starting to vibrate from the effort, feel her lungs straining with each breath. Such thirst she had! How much longer can I run? She had to extricate herself. Go west. Surely Michael would be worried. Mary Elizabeth would be home from school. Was she closer to Oak Park in the west, or the Loop to the east? Garfield Park. There was a botanical garden there. If she could just get there, someone would let her use the phone. Let her sit down. Offer her some water.
“…an outstanding new voice in fiction…"
|©Rachel Louise Snyder, 2013|