What the Living Do

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Sex and death consume much of thirty-seven-year-old Brett Catlin’s life. Cole, ten years her junior, takes care of the former while her job disposing of roadkill addresses the latter. A cancer diagnosis causes her to question her worth, suspecting the illness is payback for the deaths of her father and sister. Thus begins a challenging journey of alternative healing that she doubts she deserves. Just as Brett surrenders to the prescribed cure, a startling discovery sends her on a more profound exploration of cause and effect. Encounters with animals, both living and dead, help her answer the question: who is worth saving?

Praise for What the Living Do

“Susan Wadds has written a fierce and fearless novel about a woman drawn to self-destruction yet desperate to live—and maybe even love. A deeply moving and memorable debut.”

– Alissa York, author of Far Cry, The Naturalist, and Fauna

“Susan Wadds writes from a place of deep compassion. She understands her characters’ hearts and minds and because of that she is able to paint their landscape and allow them to pass through their rights of passage in an utterly convincing way. What the Living Do unveils a poignant mirror, carefully formed to re-assure its readers that the shadow-corners of their lives are both seen and understood.”

– Nick Bantock, author of Griffin and Sabine, The Trickster’s Hat, and Dubious Documents

“Could you deal with survivor guilt and having been molested as a child? Brett Catlin has struggled for twenty-four years. How this strong woman copes and tries to make sense of her world and her relationships with people in it will take the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride so finely are the plot and the central character and her supporting cast drawn. Effortlessly weaving real-time and backstory the author lets Brett show us how events in her past have shaped her today. And it today’s Brett who must face a life and death decision. You will ache for her. Not only is the story compelling in its emotional complexity, it is told in scintillating prose which on occasion verges on the poetic. A must read.”

– Patrick Taylor, author of The Irish Doctor series