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Publisher's Summary

A gorgeous literary debut about an elderly woman's last great adventure walking across Canada. A beautiful novel of pilgrimage, of fulfilling lifelong promises, of a talking coyote called James, of unlikely heroes and hundreds of papier-mâché animals...

Eighty-two-year-old Etta has never seen the ocean. So early one morning she takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 3,232 kilometers from rural Canada eastward to the coast.

Her husband Otto wakes to a note left on the kitchen table. "I will try to remember to come back," Etta writes to him. Otto has seen the ocean, having crossed the Atlantic years ago to fight in a far-away war. He understands. But with Etta gone, the memories come crowding in and Otto struggles to keep them at bay.

Russell has spent his whole life trying to keep up with Otto and loving Etta from afar. Russell insists on finding Etta, wherever she's gone. Leaving his own farm will be the first act of defiance in his life.

As Etta walks further toward the ocean, accompanied by a coyote named James, the lines among memory, illusion, and reality blur.

Rocking back and forth with the pull of the waves, Etta and Otto and Russell and James moves from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty burnt past of hunger, war, passion, and hope; from trying to remember to trying to forget; and inspires each of its characters to visit the sites they've longed to see and say the things they've longed to say. This is dazzling literary fiction about the rediscovery and care of the soul, and the idea it's never too late for a great adventure.

©2015 Emma Hooper, Ltd. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon and Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Richly Evocative Storytelling

This book was a time and space bending jaunt through Canada and introduced the reader to a wonderful collection of completely engaging characters. I thought Slade's narration was terrific. He captured so many different voices and textures in the writing that it really helped propel the story forward.

I agree with other reviewers that there was a strong feeling of the magical woven into the book. It reminded me in some ways of The House of the Spirits in the way it added the "out of body" tone to the writing. Definitely this was at times strange and even occasionally confusing but in the end a powerful story of love, connection, community and family.

I was simply stunned by the ending and I am still pondering the multiple messages in the writing. I plan on waiting a bit and then listening to the whole thing a second time. Original and fascinating.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • k
  • 04-01-16

Precious, tender and beautiful

What a tender and calming story to look forward to each night. A beautifully and imaginatively written story that shared emotions of the characters through such creative ways.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a story of love and kindness

Etta, Otto and Russell grow up together. Their stories are interconnected with love and kindness for each other. As they become aged and face the prospect of death, They carry that love with them as they each do one grand thing, alone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

Outstanding read! I love the ambiguity of love and permission the author gives to love whom you may unapologetically

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A rare treasure in the end

I loved the characters and the magical realism. Like a great scene from "Prairie Home Companion" plus flax flowers . Depth in simplicity. I'm left speechless at the ending.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An odd little story

A strange little story. I almost gave up on it several times, but the characters kept pulling me back. My favorite " character " ? James the (maybe) coyote. Loved the voice the narrator used for James. Not a mainstream book, but one for readers who like something a bit different..

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rose
  • Iowa
  • 01-30-15

touching story

Great story and narration. I really enjoyed listening. I'm not sure why I have to have 20 words to say I liked it.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lyrical, life affirming story

Beautiful, lyrical story that at times made me feel elated. And the reader captured perfectly the quiet cadence of life lived with love, despite interruptions by war, hardships, the difficulties brought by old age, and death. Excellent book, excellent reading. I highly recommend it.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing, frustrating

This book has its appeal: the author paints an ethereal picture of a certain time and place, with intriguing characters who elicit compassion. The events are marked with a magical quality, which is artistic, yet the symbolism is underdeveloped, so it is difficult for the reader to ascertain the actual storyline, which is therefore confusing, especially at the end. I have no idea what just happened!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Life fast forward- such a moving story

The author covered 70 years beautifully- great life stories of the characters.pits one's life in perspective

1 of 1 people found this review helpful