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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Look closely at the jacket of Allison's first novel. I'd bet you'll have the same reaction we did. "Who in their right mind would throw a child up in the air like that?!" Well, indulge yourself in a few dozen pages of What You Have Left, and you'll understand exactly "who" would indulge in such destructive behavior: his characters.
Allison has crafted a novel of southern discomfort, filled with dirt tracks and fast cars and generations doomed to repeat the mistakes of their forebears. Told from the alternating perspectives of Wylie, his daughter, Holly, and her husband, Lyle, it offers up the heartbreakingly humorous revelation that the truth of any matter depends largely upon who's doin' the tellin'.
Is the truth borne by Holly, the wounded daughter of a daredevil, dirt trackdriving mother, whose early death sends her into a tailspin? Or by Wylie, the grief-stricken widower who first abandons his daughter, then longs to reconnect with his remaining family? And what of Lyle, who must continue to win the trust of a woman who learned early on that men don't stick around?
In the end, "what you have left" is simple endurance -- summoning the courage to get back behind the wheel after each collision, to keep winding down the dirt track of life -- because sometimes grace reveals itself in a crash of contradictions. (Fall 2007 Selection)