February 2015 MEGA Debut of the Month.
Etta, after being married to Otto for many years, decides, aged 82, that she wants to see the sea before she dies so she sets off from their farm in the middle of Canada to walk to the coast – alone. On her journey she is joined by a lovely companion, James. The narrative moves backwards and forwards in time. As she travels we learn about their separate childhoods, how Russell, an only child, moved into a neighbouring farm and was absorbed into Otto’s large family. We learn how both boys meet Etta when she becomes the local school teacher. Russell had a childhood accident so when war breaks out he is unable to join the army and becomes very friendly with Etta while Otto is serving his country. As Etta’s journey progresses somehow the link between the characters seems to strengthen and in a way their past histories become blurred and mixed so that in the end the true events are puzzling, left for you to interpret. Hypnotic and a joy to read, this is a delightful, fascinating tale, magical, lyrical, a very special book indeed.
I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. I will try to remember to come back. Etta's greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 2, 000 miles to water. Meanwhile her husband Otto waits patiently at home, left only with his memories. Their neighbour Russell remembers too, but differently - and he still loves Etta as much as he did more than fifty years ago, before she married Otto.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Etta is 83 and has never seen the sea. One day she leaves her Saskatchewan home and her beloved husband Otto, of over fifty years, to walk the 2000 miles to the coast – alone (until she meets James) – to fulfil her lifelong dream. Otto loves her, and knows she must have the freedom to do the journey, and believes her decision is the right one. Their neighbour Russell loves Etta too, and has known her for as long as Otto, but he is worried and sets off after her. This whimsical tale is a complete delight, taking us not only on Etta’s journey to the sea, but also on a journey back through her life, and that of Otto’s and Russell’s. The three have had an event-filled past and our life seems richer for knowing about it. A wonderful debut novel, full of adventures, and a wealth of happiness, tears and experiences.
'An irresistibly enchanting debut novel' Booklist
'This is a quietly powerful story whose dreamlike quality lingers long after the last page is turned.' Library Journal Review
'Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper is incredibly moving, beautifully written and luminous with wisdom. It is a book that restores one's faith in life even as it deepens its mystery. Wonderful!' -- Chris Cleave
'Hooper, with great insight, explores the interactions and connections between spouses and friends - the rivalries, the camaraderie, the joys and tragedies - and reveals the extraordinary lengths to which people will go in the name of love.' Publishers Weekly
Publication date: 29/01/2015
Publisher: Fig Tree an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
|Publication date:||29th January 2015|
|Publisher:||Fig Tree an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,|
Raised in Alberta, Canada, Emma Hooper brought her love of music and literature to the UK, where she received a doctorate in Musico-Literary studies at the University of East-Anglia and currently lectures at Bath Spa University. A musician, Emma performs as the solo artist Waitress for the Bees, and was awarded a Finnish Cultural Knighthood. She also performs with the Stringbeans Quartet and has toured with Peter Gabriel and Toni Braxton. She lives in Bath, UK, but goes home to Canada to cross-country ski whenever she can. Author photo © Martin TompkinsMore About Emma Hooper