This “poetic, poignant” (US Weekly) debut features last great adventures, unlikely heroes, and a “sweet, disarming story of lasting love” (The New York Times Book Review). Eighty-three-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 Saskatchewan, Canada eastward to the sea. As Etta walks further toward the crashing waves, the lines among memory, illusion, and reality blur. Otto wakes to a note left on the kitchen table. “I will try to remember to come back,” Etta writes to her husband. 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. Meanwhile, their neighbor 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. Moving from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion, from trying to remember to trying to forget, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is an astounding literary debut “of deep longing, for reinvention and self-discovery, as well as for the past and for love and for the boundless unknown” (San Francisco Chronicle). “In this haunting debut, set in a starkly beautiful landscape, Hooper delineates the stories of Etta and the men she loved (Otto and Russell) as they intertwine through youth and wartime and into old age. It’s a lovely book you’ll want to linger over” (People).
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 Saskatchewan to Halifax. Her husband Otto wakes to a note left on the kitchen table. I will try to remember to come back, Etta writes. Otto has seen the ocean, having crossed the Atlantic years ago to fight in a far-away war, so he understands. But with Etta gone, the memories come crowding in. The only way to keep them at bay is to keep his hands busy. Russell, raised as a brother to Otto, has loved Etta from afar for sixty years. He insists on finding Etta, wherever she’s gone. Leaving his farm will be the first act of defiance in his whole life. As Etta walks toward the ocean - accompanied by a coyote named James - memory, illusion, and reality blur. Like the gentle undulation of waves, Etta and Otto and Russell and James moves from a past filled with hunger, war, passion, and hope to a present of quiet industry and peaceful communion; from trying to remember to trying to forget. A beautiful novel that reminds us that it’s never too late to see the things you’ve longed to see, or to say the things you’ve longed to say.
*LONG LISTED FOR THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE* 'A Wes Anderson-esque tale to fall for' Stylist 'Warm-hearted and winsomely imaginative' Sunday Times 'A novel in love with music, magic and the idealism of childhood' The Times Newfoundland, Canada, 1992. When all the fish vanish from the waters, and the cod industry abruptly collapses, it's not long before the people begin to disappear from the town of Big Running as well. As residents are forced to leave the island in search of work, 10-year-old Finn Connor suddenly finds himself living in a ghost town. There's no school, no friends and whole rows of houses stand abandoned. And then Finn's parents announce that they too must separate if their family is to survive. But Finn still has his sister, Cora, with whom he counts the dwindling boats on the coast at night, and Mrs Callaghan, who teaches him the strange and ancient melodies of their native Ireland. That is until his sister disappears, and Finn must find a way of calling home the family and the life he has lost. This is an enchanting tale about a fading town and a boy who would do anything to save his family