Monday, June 01, 2015

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

Eighty-three year old Etta is full of life, but she has never seen the ocean!  So she decides to walk some 3,000 kilometers from Saskatchewan, Canada east to the sea.  She leaves a note on the kitchen table for her husband, Otto, stating "I will try to remember to come back", and loads up provisions including a rifle and some chocolate before heading out.  It is Russell, life-long friend a neighbor to Otto, who eventually decides to set out after Etta.  The final title character, James, can only be described as a supernatural coyote who accompanies Etta along part of her journey.  

This novel is all story, and as many of my favorite story tellers do, Hooper paints her landscape with the broad brush of magical realism.  I loved Etta and her feisty determination.  This novel is quirky and engaging.  Want to escape this summer?  Hike along with Etta and James.

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