Hot Off the Press Reviews: 'What Is Gone' by Amy Knox Brown

Amy Knox Brown’s memoir examines identity, memories and the altering effects of violence.


Both memoir and mystery, Amy Knox Brown's "What Is Gone" examines identity, memories and the altering effects of violence.

Brown, who grew up in the seemingly safe embrace of Lincoln, Nebraska, soon has her What Is Goneworldview shattered by a brutal sexual assault while living in nearby Omaha in her early twenties. Because of her experience, danger, which once seemed out-of-reach, became a conscious probability for Brown. Following her attack, Brown moves back to the safe grounds of her hometown cushioned by the nostalgia of her youth only to be met with change, from beloved stores closing to an increasingly vacated downtown, causing her to reconsider everything she's known. This, coupled with the abrupt disappearance and murder of Candice Harms, a first-year student at the University of Nebraska, further uproots Brown's perception of home.

Not only does "What Is Gone" present an intimate retelling of trauma while unravelling the mystery surrounding Harms's disappearance, it also causes the reader to question their own personal narratives. Do lingering memories of safety shroud our view, ultimately putting us at risk? Does experiencing violence change who we are as a person? This, and much more, comes to light through Brown's honest approach to uncovering darker truths of our realities that are too often left ignored.

"What Is Gone" is Texas Tech University Press's second Judith Keeling Book. Established to recognize achievement and dedication to scholarly publishing, the Judith Keeling Book honors books that embody careful research, attention to detail, investigative questions of inquiring minds, and make valuable contributions to the literary culture of Texas and the American West.

You can purchase "What Is Gone" through Texas Tech University Press.