I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I will try to remember to come back.
It’s important to note that I started reading Etta and Otto and Russell and James as a last stitch effort at salvaging some sanity after what is proving to be a very long, and arguably miserable Winter. The result was a delightful mix of magical realism and down right charm. Time has no boundaries and there is never any clear dialogue, yet somehow Hooper bonds you so close to her characters that they have remained on my mind nearly a week after turning the last page.
Turning the last page. Actually, this was the first “real” book I have read in ages. I have been a devoted e-reader groupie ever since purchasing my first device almost 5 years ago. And while I can still preach the benefits of downloading a book in seconds, there was something extra special about reading this particular book off a paper page.
Etta was a school teacher haunted by tragedy who falls in different kinds of love with best friends, Otto and Russell. Time moves back and forth from their youth to present day, where all are now in their eighties. Etta, with the goal of seeing the ocean for the first time, sets off on a journey to walk across Canada. On her way, she meets up with James, a mysterious coyote who both protects and encourages Etta. My only complaint was the severe dive in character development when it comes to Russell, a once integral part of the plot is all but dropped after he goes off on his own. The story is ultimately focused on Etta and Otto’s profound connection and love. It’s best to approach this as a adult fairy-tale of sorts. It doesn’t always make sense, but really, does everything always need to make sense??
Buy the “real” book, have a cup of tea ready and spend a chilly Sunday morning with Etta and Otto and Russell and James.
Buy the book here!