After working out what it was I liked about Nicola Haken, I realized that it was pretty much the same for Garrett Leigh. Because she’s very good at guiding you along the course of things. The how of things. How these people are ruined and how they put themselves back together and maybe fall apart again. Sometimes they aren’t whole or rather they aren’t what they used to be or what they wanted to get back to because they’ve healed into something completely new. And they will struggle, but not alone. And like Haken, Leigh leaves the stories at a point where you think it’s entirely possible, even if it isn’t written, that you could revisit these people and, in a year’s time, that you could see where they were and there’d be just as much chance they were doing well as there is they weren’t.
That kind of writing compels me to seek out a writer’s other work in hopes of recapturing that feeling again. And I did that after reading “What Remains.” I ended up reading another full-length novel and two short stories. Both of the short stories I read fell flat. So my appreciation for her work is limited to her longer efforts. And that’s fine; those less than stellar works don’t stop Leigh from being a good writer. It’s just that, similar to Kinoshita Keiko, another author I’m pretty fond of, Leigh’s charms are most apparent when her stories and characters have space and time to breath. And now that I know that, I can choose the next title by her a little more wisely.