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Summary

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 and begins walking the 2,000 miles to water.

Meanwhile her husband Otto waits patiently at home, left only with his memories. Their neighbour Russell remembers too - and he still loves Etta as much as he did more than fifty years ago, before she married Otto.

©2015 Emma Hooper (P)2015 W .F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"[I]ncredibly moving, beautifully written and luminous with wisdom. It is a book that restores one's faith in life even as it deepens its mystery. Wonderful!" (Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand)
"An irresistibly enchanting debut novel" ( BOOKLIST)

What listeners say about Etta and Otto and Russell and James

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Etta and Otto

A really touching story that tells the story of Etta and Otto's life, mingled with the confusion of Etta's early stages of dementia. I really enjoyed the imagery Emma Hooper creates throughout the book. Be patient, it's not a confusing read. It's calm and sympathetic, and a a beautiful story of people sharing a life time of love.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gently paced, finely crafted.

I loved the tone of the narrator, perfectly suited to the book which gathered me in and had me entranced... I listened to the whole book in one sitting. Not great if you like a neat finish to a book, as the narrative to this leaves you wondering what happened after... A great pace, a sense of human scale lives, with interwoven narratives as the characters navigate larger tragedies, set against a wild and expansive backdrop of Canadian countryside.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but what happens?

It feels like the author has run out of time or just couldn't be bothered to end this properly, one character moves in and out for no real reason with no explanation at the end, really enjoyed it until the ending which is quite frankly disappointing.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Struggled to finish...

I struggled to wade through this... Putting it on double time to try to get to the point. Characters didn't do anything for me and I preferred the plot set in the past rather than present day.

Many more books worth reading instead... Sorry, just didn't work for me at all.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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calm, weaving, real

from start to finish this book washes over you, lulling you and drawing you into memories and thoughts and events. charming.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Inspired by the Bookshop Band

Not so sure about this one. I was tempted to buy this after listening the The Bookshop Band, and their song "The Edge of the World" which was inspired by the book. (The song is actually MUCH BETTER than the book.) . . . . . . . . . . At the age of 83, Etta in the early stages of dementia, embarks on a walk to the sea (starting in the centre of Canada), leaving her husband Otto and their friend Russell behind. The author introduces a Cayote named James to accompany Etta, giving her somebody with whom she can engage in a dialogue. Not clear if this is a real Cayote or just Etta's imagination. . . . . . . During we walk, we get flashbacks to the trio's earlier life. Etta was a teacher, Otto rather uneducated was number 7 in a very large family, Russell partly disabled, was a farmer and also loved Etta. Nobody had much money. . . . . . . The jumps back and forth in time and space seem to happen almost mid-sentence and can be quite confusing to the listener. The ending too wasn't clear, and I think is open to interpretation. . . . . . . I felt I got to know the trio by the end of the book, but there didn't seem much point to the story apart from that. I feel sure there must have been a lot that I "didn't get". . . . . . .

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Struggled with This

Found it tedious and uninteresting. Sent me to sleep on dozens of occasions when trying to get through it

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Wee gem

Otto and Etta have been married for 50 yrs and Etta decides it's time to see the ocean. Off she trots by foot, leaving Otto alone with recipe cards to conquer. Russell is their best friend, obliged to try and find her and James the mysterious coyote as her own "littlest hobo". Very sweet, endearing tale, with heartbreaking passages on war.

1 person found this helpful