One of Megan's favourite books of 2023
This took me completely by surprise. The novel traces the complications of family, grief, artmaking, and pain in a deeply felt and compassionate way. I can’t get it out of my head. - Megan
Take What You Need traces the parallel lives of Jean and her beloved but estranged stepdaughter, Leah, who’s sought a clean break from her rural childhood. In Leah’s urban life with her young family, she’s revealed little about Jean, how much she misses her stepmother’s hard-won insights and joyful lack of inhibition.
But with Jean’s death, Leah must return to sort through what’s been left behind. What Leah discovers is staggering: Jean has filled her ramshackle house with giant sculptures she’s welded from scraps of the area’s industrial history.
Set in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia, Take What You Need explores the continuing mystery of the people we love most, zeroing in on the joys and difficulties of family with great verve and humour, and illuminating what can be built from what others have discarded.