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 west, theaters and shops frame posh homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. To the east lies a neighborhood trying desperately to recover from urban decline. Although the community’s Diversity Assurance program has curbed the destructive racial housing practices that migrated from Chicago's notorious west side over the past decades, cultural and racial 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. A shocking act of violence and another of unexpected compassion in the wake of the burglaries leave the entire community indelibly altered, while the residents of Ilios Lane are thrust into an uneasy alliance and must take stock of the world they believed they lived in—and the world many of them were attempting to create. Snyder builds the story with subtle suspense, leading ultimately to an explosive conclusion.
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 idealism confronts reality.