Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Etta and Otto and Russell and James - Emma Hooper

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 the water. 

But Etta is starting to forget things. Her husband, Otto, remembers everything, and he loves her: surely they can balance things out?

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.

Rocking back and forth with the pull of the waves, Etta and Otto and Russell and James moves from the present of a too-quiet-for-too-long Canadian farm to a dusty past of hunger, war, passion and hope, from trying to remember to trying to forget as, from prairie to forest to mountain to sand, Etta walks. 

My thoughts:
I like this kind of fiction. Time moves slower, the prose is different. It's even jumpy at times. But I need it in my book diet.

But sure it took some getting used to when there were no quotations marks when someone spoke. It's like no one ever spoke in a way. A silent book, that I read fast because the writing was good.

Etta is over 80 and decides she wants to see the ocean so she packs her things and walks. Otto her husband misses her but tries to cook and bake by himself for once. Their neighbor Russel worries for her, and James is a coyote that she becomes friends with.

In between the walking, and Otto trying to cope, there are passages from the past. Otto growing up, meeting Russell. Etta growing up, and meeting them both. Their life in the village, and then the war coming. I did like the images from the past. But I also liked the present, Otto was interesting.


The end was, honestly I am not sure what happened. Was I supposed to figure it out? Or make my own? Or nothing happened? Beats me.

Conclusion;
A good book. 

cover
I did not see the people at first

Paperback, 281 pages
Published January 29th 2015 by Penguin
Fiction / Historical fiction
Own


44 comments:

  1. It sounds good but I don't know if I could handle the end.

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    1. I am actually not sure what happened

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  2. At first glance I'd think this was a children's book. Sounds like a touching novel full of moral lessons (?).

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  3. I recently read a book like this. No quotations marks, a jumble of thoughts and emotions, and a weird ending, it was good yet it frustrated me.

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    1. If I would change one thing then it would be to make the end clearer. I mean it was sort of clear but not spelled out

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  4. I didn't see the people at first either. I do like a book like this. Sometimes you do need it in your book diet.

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    1. I think it took me half the book, suddenly I looked at the cover and went all cool

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  5. I like that bit about needing it in your book diet!

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  6. This sounds like my type of read. I knew there was a reason I bought it!

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    1. LOL. I hope that you enjoy it then

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  7. Probably not my kind of book, but that's one nifty cover. I can't stop looking at it!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  8. I know what you mean about some kind of books you just need and didn't realize. I didn't notice the heads in the cinder at first either!

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    Replies
    1. it was so freaky, but then I suck at things like that

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  9. Oh well now you have me curious about the ending. Not sure about lack of quotation marks but I imagine your mind eventually processes it and it flows.

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    Replies
    1. I got used to it but it was so strange at first

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  10. It certainly sounds a different kind of read.

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  11. This one sounds different, but I don't think it's for me.

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  12. Hm, different, and in the best possible way. I like open-ended novels :) Thanks for sharing this one, it sounds like a real find.

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    1. I not so much ;) I am all and then what? I need it alllll

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  13. Sounds different, but I'm not sure if it's for me.

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  14. If you hadn't mentioned the people on the cover, I would never have seen them.

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  15. Haven't heard anything about this one, but the ending sounds challenging and not sure if I would like the openness

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    Replies
    1. Maybe it was just me that did not get it

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  16. Sounds interesting, especially the coyote part :)

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    Replies
    1. I liked that part, either it was magical realism or she was bonkers

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  17. "Book diet" -- yeah, it's good to mix things up! I usually need a palate cleanser after reading too much of, well, any genre.

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  18. Have you ever read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? It sounds similar in premise. I really enjoyed that one, and it has quotation marks :-)

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    Replies
    1. Nope, but I have of course heard of it.

      Ohhh quotation marks! I do like those, lol

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  19. Nope, not for me at all. And I don't see people either, just heads.

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    Replies
    1. If you look closely you see the bodies too

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