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Etta and Otto and Russell and James [large print] / by Emma Hooper.

By: Hooper, Emma [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2015Edition: Large print edition.Description: 411 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781410477071 (hardcover); 141047707X (hardcover); 9781444828528 (hbk : F. A. Thorpe).Subject(s): Large type books | Older women -- Fiction | Memory -- Fiction | Friendship -- FictionGenre/Form: Romance fiction. | Historical fiction. | Large type books.DDC classification: 813/.6 Summary: Otto, the letter began, I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. Don't worry, I've left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back. Yours (always), Etta. Otto finds his 83-year-old wife's note in their kitchen in Saskatchewan, 3,200 kilometers from the ocean. But he understands. He was there once. Now Otto struggles with his demons of war while their friend Russell pursues Etta. And James -- you'll have to meet him on the page.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Etta is starting to forget. But Otto loves her and if he remembers, then 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 50 years ago, before she married Otto. Etta's greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of 82, 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.

"Thorndike Press large print basic."

Otto, the letter began, I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. Don't worry, I've left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back. Yours (always), Etta. Otto finds his 83-year-old wife's note in their kitchen in Saskatchewan, 3,200 kilometers from the ocean. But he understands. He was there once. Now Otto struggles with his demons of war while their friend Russell pursues Etta. And James -- you'll have to meet him on the page.

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Kotui multi-version record.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

1 Otto, The letter began, in blue ink, I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. Don't worry, I've left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back. Yours (always), Etta. Underneath the letter she had left a pile of recipe cards. All the things she had always made. Also in blue ink. So he would know what and how to eat while she was away. Otto sat down at the table and arranged them so no two were overlapping. Columns and rows. He thought about putting on his coat and shoes and going out to try and find her, maybe asking neighbors if they had seen which way she went, but he didn't. He just sat at the table with the letter and the cards. His hands trembled. He laid one on top of the other to calm them. After a while Otto stood and went to get their globe. It had a light in the middle, on the inside, that shone through the latitude and longitude lines. He turned it on and turned off the regular kitchen lights. He put it on the far side of the table, away from the letter and cards, and traced a path with his finger. Halifax. If she went east, Etta would have three thousand, two hundred and thirty-two kilometers to cross. If west, to Vancouver, twelve hundred and one kilometers. But she would go east, Otto knew. He could feel the tightness in the skin across his chest pulling that way. He noticed his rifle was miss- ing from the front closet. It would still be an hour or so until the sun rose. Growing up, Otto had fourteen brothers and sisters. Fifteen alto- gether, including him. This was when the flu came and wouldn't go, and the soil was even dryer than usual, and the banks had all turned inside out, and all the farmers' wives were losing more children than they were keeping. So families were trying and trying, for every five pregnancies, three babies, and for every three babies, one child. Most of the farmers' wives were pregnant most of the time. The silhouette of a beautiful woman, then, was a silhouette rounded with potential. Otto's mother was no different. Beautiful. Always round. Still, the other farmers and their wives were wary of her. She was cursed, or blessed; supernatural, they said to one another across post- boxes. Because Otto's mother, Grace, lost none of her children. Not One. Every robust pregnancy running smoothly into a ruddy infant and every infant to a barrel-eared child, lined up between siblings in gray and off-gray nightclothes, some holding babies, some holding hands, leaning into the door to their parents' room, listening fixedly to the moaning from within. Etta, on the other hand, had only one sister. Alma with the pitch- black hair. They lived in town. Let's play nuns, said Etta, once, after school but before dinner. Why nuns? said Alma. She was braiding Etta's hair. Etta's just- normal like a cowpat hair. Etta thought about the nuns they saw, sometimes, on the edges of town, moving ghostly-holy between the shops and church. Some- times by the hospital. Always clean in black and white. She looked down at her own red shoes. Blue buckles. Undone. Because they're beautiful, she said. No, Etta, said Alma, nuns don't get to be beautiful. Or have ad- ventures. Everybody forgets nuns. I don't, said Etta. Anyway, said Alma, I might get married. And you might too. No, said Etta. Maybe, said Alma. She leaned down and did up her sister's shoe. And, she said, what about adventures? You have those before you become a nun. And then you have to stop? asked Alma. And then you get to stop. Excerpted from Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Eighty-three-year-old Etta embarks on a 3,200-kilometer journey walking from Saskatchewan to Halifax in order to see the ocean for the first time. Along the way, she befriends a talking coyote named James, a reporter who decides she'd rather walk with Etta than report, and throngs of fans who follow her progress from town to town. Her husband, Otto, passes the time until her return by writing Etta letters he never mails, learning to bake from her ancient recipe cards, and creating papier-mache animal sculptures. Russell, who lives on the neighboring farm, goes after Etta, and, in the process, decides that it's time to begin his own journey. Each character carries heavy memories: tragic pregnancies, the horrors of World War II, a broken heart, an injured limb. And over all, the dust of drought settles, the lack of water a constant pall, the search for water a means of redemption. VERDICT Debut novelist Hooper's spare, evocative prose dips in and out of reality and travels between past and present creating what Etta tells Otto is "just a long loop." This is a quietly powerful story whose dreamlike quality lingers long after the last page is turned. For literary fiction fans. [See Prepub Alert, 4/14/14.]-Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib., Malibu, CA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Hooper's arresting debut novel, with its spare, evocative prose, seamlessly interweaves accounts of the present-day lives of its eponymous main characters with the stories of their pasts and how they first connected with each other. The book starts with a note that Etta leaves for her husband: "Otto, I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. Don't worry, I've left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back." Thus begins elderly Etta's journey from Saskatchewan to the coast, and the same ocean that once took her dear husband overseas to fight in WWII. She is armed with minor provisions, some clothes, and a sheet of paper with names on it, starting with "You: Etta Gloria Kinnick of Deerdale farm. 83 years old in August." Along the way, Etta meets a coyote she names James; she considers him her friend and they have many long conversations as they travel together. As Etta walks thousands of miles to her destination, three touching stories unfold: those of Otto, from a family of 14 brothers and sisters; Russell, the abandoned boy who lived next door to Otto and becomes a de facto part of his family; and Etta, who lost her sister at a young age. Hooper, with great insight, explores the interactions and connections between spouses and friends-the rivalries, the camaraderie, the joys and tragedies-and reveals the extraordinary lengths to which people will go in the name of love. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Etta Vogel, 83, walks out of her home on the Saskatchewan prairie, leaving a succinct note for her husband, Otto: she's walking 3,200 kilometers across Canada toward the ocean; she will try to remember to come back. Otto understands, for once, during WWII, he, too, was pulled to the sea and beyond, a calamity that turned his hair prematurely white at age 17. Russell is Otto's oldest friend and erstwhile rival for Etta's affections. While Otto chooses to stay home and wait for Etta's return, Russell rushes off to find her, and he does, provinces away, in the company of a coyote named James, Etta's escort, protector, and familiar. Convinced she does not need him (did she ever?), Russell retreats in search of his own muses, the deer, elk, and caribou that roam the northern forests. Completely alone now, Otto mourns the absence of the two people who have always mattered the most, losing himself in artistic flights of fancy and fearful memories of childhood and combat. Drawing on wisdom and whimsy of astonishing grace and maturity, Hooper has written an irresistibly enchanting debut novel that explores mysteries of love old and new, the loyalty of animals and dependency of humans, the horrors of war and perils of loneliness, and the tenacity of time and fragility of memory.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2014 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Hooper's debut is a novel of memory and longing and desires too long denied. On Saskatchewan's Great Plains grew 15 Vogel children. When Otto Vogel was still a child, half-orphaned Russell joined the brood. The Great Depression burned on, crops failed, and schooling was casual. One of the teachers was Etta, no older than Otto and Russell. World War II came. Otto left. Russell, broken leg improperly mended, could not. As Hooper's shifting narrative opens, now-83-year-old Etta awakens, intending to walk to Canada's east coast, leaving a brief note for her husband, Otto. She carries a bit of food, a rifle, and a note of her identity and home. To a Cormac McCarthy-like narrativesans quotation marks, featuring crisp, concise conversationsHooper adds magical realism: Etta's joined by a talking coyote she names James, who serves as guide and sounding board. With Etta absent, Otto begins baking from her recipes, his companion a guinea pig, always silent. Soon Otto becomes obsessed with constructing a menagerie of papier-mch wildlife. Russell, shy lifelong bachelor and Etta's wartime lover, follows her, finds her, only to hear her urge him to seek his own quest "because you want to and you're allowed to and you can. You could have if you wanted to enough"the novel's thematic heart. Russell disappears into flashbacks. Hooper reveals more of Etta and Otto in letters exchanged during World War II, where Otto by turns is terrified, sickened and enthralled. Otto marries Etta on return, a less than perfect union shadowed by damaged Otto striking out at Etta. With beautifully crafted descriptionsderelict farm machinery as "gently stagnant machines"Hooper immerses herself in characters, each shaped by the Depression. The book ends with sheer poetry, stunning and powerful, multiple short chapters where identities and dreams, longings and memories shift and cling to one character and then another within the "long loop of existence." A masterful near homage to Pilgrim's Progress: souls redeemed through struggle. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.