Monday, June 6, 2016

Etta and Otto and Russell and James

By Etta Hooper
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2015. 305 pages. Fiction.

Etta has never seen the ocean and abruptly decides to remedy that by setting out on foot, East across Canada. Her husband, Otto, understands her desire and does not go after her, but instead tries to fill his time on their farm and sends letters to her, although he doesn’t know her exact whereabouts and whether the letters will make it to her. Their long-time friend and neighbor, Russell, decides that an 83 year old woman with minor dementia should not be venturing across the country on her own, and attempts to track her, though leaving the comfort of his farm and the familiar is not something he is used to doing. 

Told from three different perspectives and in letters and flashbacks throughout their youth and into the present, this book masterfully and beautifully weaves the experience of the characters together. The story explores memory, self-exploration and fulfillment, and relationships in a wonderfully compelling and gratifying read. It has been a long while since I’ve enjoyed a book as much as this, or read anything as unique. I would highly recommend picking it up!


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