Freddie was raised on faith. It’s in her blood. Yet rather than seeking solace from the Almighty when she loses her husband of many years, she enters a state of quiet contemplationuntil her daughter, and then her sister, each come home with a host of problems of their own, and her solitude is brought to an end.
As Freddie helps her daughter and sister deal with their troubles, her own painful pasta wretched childhood at the hands of an unbalanced, pious motherbegins to occupy her thoughts more than ever, as does Anna, the grandmother she’s always wished she’d known better. Freddie feels that she and Anna are connected, not just through blood but through the raising of difficult daughters, and it’s a kinship that makes her wonder what unseen forces have shaped her life. With all that to hand, a new family crisis rears its headand it forces Freddie to confront the questions she’s asked so many times: What does it mean to believe in God? And does God even care?
|Publisher:||She Writes Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
What People are Saying About This
“In What Is Found, What Is Lost, Anne Leigh Parrish ruminates on faith and lack of, as well as family and love. With writing akin to the comfort of a conversation over a familiar kitchen table, she takes us on a journey through the years—both skeptical and believing, both hard and bright—to get at the hearts of these women, marriages, mothers and daughters, these relationships. Parrish isn’t afraid to let us drift to the darkness, but we can trust that we will find her on her hands and knees, looking for the lost flashlight to guide our way. What Is Found, What Is Lost, is a deft novel full of rich characters and even richer emotions that will leave a pleasant ache in your bones.”
—Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss A War
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
REVIEW: What is Found, What is Lost: A Novel by Anne Leigh Parrish Mary E. Latela SHEWRITESBOOKS What is Found What is Lost: A Novel by Anne Leigh Parrish is a splendid, rich, and deeply thoughtful journey through the lives of the women of one Midwestern family. They seem eerily similar, not particularly interested in being mothers, and treating their children badly, trying to get along with men who are complicated and mostly unresponsive. They either feel too passionately or act the stoic, holding everything inside. This is not a story about religion or faith. It is not an “inspirational book,” nor a Christian book. This is a multilayered series of stories about women trying to find themselves through their encounters of every sort of distortion, anomaly, seen in “religious people: those who love religion, hate religion, pretend to be people of faith, in other words, hypocrites. As in life, these misfits come in every religious group. The tapestry of this family is sewn, loosely, imperfectly by these outsiders, and therein lies the novel’s captivating charm. Freddie, the newly widowed central character, ties together the generations. First Lorraine, her abusive, alcoholic mother, shows up, having been sent home by the lecherous tent preacher who’d lured her into running away from home to spread the “Good news” decades before. She’d abandoned her daughters, Freddie and Holly, in the tent community, left them to fend for themselves, nearly illiterate, unkempt, and hungry. Before Freddie married Ken, a cop, she told him what she knew of her background, and he was not turned off, but resigned, stating, ”I’m a cop. I’ve seen everything.” Apparently, Ken and Freddie argued a great deal, he resenting her working at a grocery store, she determined to show resolve, forbearance, and sometimes, silence. When they had their daughter Beth, Freddie was dutiful, but sometimes cruel and demanding, never affectionate. Freddie seems to be the one to come home to, so Holly and her husband visit, bursting with plans for a car, a new home, and other material things. The homecoming of the daughter, Beth, nearly unnerves Freddie. Beth ran away as a teen, worked in a questionable place, and has a son, whom she virtually ignores. She announces that she is pregnant; the father is a married priest. Parrish’s linguistic expertise is compelling. When Anna, the grandmother, needs to find a place where she is not known, she boards a streetcar and notes: “All those people with their problems were like a river of gray water that flowed on and on, yet never met the sea, never found release, was never set free.” (p.131) Anna decides to go to confession in a Catholic church . A list of sins flows rhythmically: divorce, living in sin, reconciliation, failing her child. When the priest counsels, “You must find you way back to God,” Anna thinks, Not back to God, To myself. Anne Leigh Parrish has brilliantly come through with her carefully crafted saga, which totally captured my attention. This is a superb novel, written by a gifted author who carefully fills out her characters with creativity and imagination.
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A multi generational story that takes you back and forth through four generations of women and each of the issues they have lived with and tried desperately to overcome. Freddie is the main character of the four and with her daughter, mother and grandmother each telling their stories and the moments that make up their lives. My favorite part about multigenerational stories is the ability to see the effects of previous generations decisions on the next. As well seeing the personality traits pass on or skip generations, I love it!
Anne Leigh Parrish is back, with her latest novel What is Found, What is Lost releasing on She Writes Press. I was very excited when I received a review copy of this book in the mail last month–Parrish’s writing career is something I’ve been following since she first submitted and was published to Literary Orphans Journal two years ago. updated-novel-coverIf you are familiar with her style and interests, you know that Parrish is an expert at writing about the inner workings of a family. This is good news for me, a die-hard Updike fan. Yet Parrish takes her own spin on it—she covers a family’s rise and fall, triumphs and failures, from a deeply diverse, multiple-character lens. This novel continues on in that fantastic tradition–but focuses on an even deeper analysis, as it covers four different generations of women as they mature and intersect and haunt one another in the American Midwest. Let me backtrack for a moment and talk about the structure and composition of the novel. The book is gorgeous—it has a matte, good-feeling, almost rubbery cover that will make you think of a night in the early fall an hour after the sun sets and the sky forces you to remember that it is cosmic, overwhelming you in an inky blue. On the cover we see a woman in a white dress, perhaps a wedding dress, with a type of shawl over her head—a lot of foreshadowing there—and she seems to be glowing as she looks up into the sky. This otherworldly white and blue is carried on to the thin title font and the back-cover font, where we see a great 6-pointed orange star (representing Chicago?) heading off the text. The paper is of good stock, and the ink is great quality as well–you’ll notice in the large font of the chapter-headings, the ink is shining just a bit above the height of the page. The book clocks in at about 250 pages. The mechanical structure of the book is divided into four parts plus a brief epilogue–each chapter, of which there are 41, takes us back and forth between the generations of women and their interactions with one another–no one part is exclusively dedicated to a generation or a time. With this we get a grasp of the ever-present fluidity, the ever present sense of ghost that exists within What is Found, What is Lost. The chapters themselves read at most times like flash, and have a Dybekian quality to them. They hit you hard and fast before you get comfortable, and as you go on to the next chapter, you get another lens shift into a different time and place. We start off with Freddie, a fresh widow of a cop who died of cancer, in the year 2012. We’re in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and we’re walking a designer dog down the street. Freddie’s mind wanders to her dead husband, and her daughter, Beth, who has been stripping in Nevada to make a living for herself and her young son and to—Freddie is sure–incense her now dead cop father. Immediately we are aware of the main themes, as in this chapter and the next we understand that Freddie is used to being alone, likes it, finds a peculiar freedom and spontaneity in loneliness. As Freddie walks her dog, a strange man in a pickup is chugging down the small streets. All her neighbors are concerned that he is dangerous. Freddie invites him in. That’s when we learn the second thing about Freddie–that she is not afraid of confrontation. Over the next few chapters we are introduced to our protagonist’s mother, Lorraine, who was a true believer (and a drunk) that raised Freddie and her sister Holly in religious camps and exclusion–devoid of schooling and healthcare. We learn about this true believer’s own mother, Anna, the Armenian who fled Constantinople with her Jewish husband, and through a series of events finds her way to Chicago without that Jewish husband. We will step back and learn more about the man in the pickup truck, Nate, whose wife converted to Islam and left him—Nate, who drives around the streets day after day looking for a woman in a hijab. We’ll learn about the youngest woman–the fourth generation–and her affair with a priest. Now you are seeing the other main theme of this novel, the struggle with religion–a theme that holds a lot of interest for me personally. We have two discontinuous generations of powerful women who are unbelievers, and we have their daughters who in some way have a type of thermidorian reaction and are pulled into a search for religion and a lust–an actual, sexual, lust–for it. It shows us that religion is not only about believers and atheists, even if it would be simpler that way for me to think so. We learn about the impact of personal belief on those around the person with the belief, the impact on future generations and how they choose to explore this part of themselves (or not). It is about the weight of cultural inheritance. It is also about radical religion as a vehicle–a form of escape, of the sort that Max Weber outlined in his analyses of the American West–a land where 150 years ago without generations of roots and tradition, new ideas and new religions and new cults thrived. What is Found, What is Lost is about the intersectionality of womanhood throughout four generations, where it is about the impact of religion on those generations–it is also about much more—the small infinities and events that make up a family’s cultural inheritance. It is about the PTSD of the lost World War One generation. It is about struggles of faith in romance as much as in religion. It is about small-town politics and it is about a criminal element and how families will sink to it to make a profit. It is about being the messy savior of a people who oppressed you, and the hollowness of being saved. What is Found, What is Lost, is about sisterhood late in life and dealing with a family-member’s stroke, and it is about divorce and false love. Most looming–to me at least, as a Midwestern writer and reader–it is about the presence of the prairies and the snow and the small-towns and that particular sort of person you find hunkered down in them during the long winters. We get four beautifully chaotic generations of them. And man, do we get it. Pick this one up. Highly recommended.