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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

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Outstanding

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

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • 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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dotty
  • CLOVIS, CA, United States
  • 08-19-15

Didn't quite work for me

The idea for the book was good, but it just didn't come quite fulfil it's promise. Parts of it were good, but parts were confusing. I wouldn't waste my time on it again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

The narrator was the best part of this listen

This book was so boring! It seemed to me that the author read "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" and decided to write one with a female protagonist. It just didn't work for me. The story was mundane and the characters uninteresting - they were just so good. If you've ever read a book written for the Amish, it's kind of like that. There's stuff going on, but everyone is just so peachy clean with feeding the chickens and walking to church, that it just doesn't ring true. I felt like it was telling the story from the viewpoint of a child who just never realized that his parents are real human beings with complicated emotions and moral struggles. If you're into that James Herriot kind of story and wouldn't mind a little magical realism mixed in, you might like it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It's not a book for everyone

I loved the narrator and I loved the story too. As the jacket mentions, the characters are in their 80's and that's why I say it's not for everyone. It is not a fast-paced story but it is a very dear one. I know nothing about the farm life described and lived yet could picture all of it and all of the people in it. Some reviews relate it to the Harold Fry book but that comparison never struck me at all. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite character so I'll name both James and Otto. As soon as I finished, I had questions so I started to listen again but I decided after a few chapters to take a break instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful