TITLE: Etta and Otto and Russell and James
AUTHOR: Emma Hooper
GENRES: Adult, Fiction
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGES: 278
PUBLISHED: January 29th 2015

Amazon // Book Depository // Goodreads

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 waves, Etta and Otto and Russel and James moves from the present of a too-quiet-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.


We have good days and bad days. You told me, once, to just remember to breathe. As long as you can do that, you’re doing something Good, you said. Getting rid of the old, and letting in the new. And, therefore, moving forward. Making progress. That’s all you have to do to move forward, sometimes, you said, just breathe. So don’t worry, Etta, if nothing else, I am still breathing.

This book was not for me. I should have probably left it in the shelf at the library. I read the synopsis back there, I have read it once before that too. And that was somewhat confusing already. It tells you something but at the same time it kind of doesn’t tell you anything about the story. But I wanted to read something different to avoid slump.

The writing is definitely different that in any other books I usually read. That might be the reason why I was able to read this in one day only. But at the same time as it was fast to read it was seriously confusing at some points, or all the time. I’m not sure if I have ever read a book that’s written without quote marks. And that made it somewhat harder to read.
It’s also written in multiple point of views in present and past. The story jumps quite randomly from character to character and from present to past. There wasn’t any indication to when and to whom the point of views will change and jump next. Sometimes it was hard for me to stay in track and it took me a while to get the hang of who and when.

The character themselves were meh. Honestly I think James was the only one I liked. The others were indifferent for me but necessary for the story to go on. There were so many of them at first and then it stick with the main characters.

I liked that the book was easy to read, fast. I also liked the fact that families were present. It’s so rare to actually see the whole family being present, not just talked about.
But there were so many things that made me confused and I just couldn’t enjoy the story with million questions rolling in my head. Did Etta get to the sea? What happened to Otto or Russel? Was James real? Just in general wtf?




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