Friday, May 26, 2017

Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper  305 pp.

Eighty-three year old Etta leaves a note for her husband, takes some chocolate, a shotgun, and her best boots to set off on a 3000 mile walk from their farm in Saskatchewan to the Atlantic Ocean because she's never seen it. In her note she says she will "try to remember to come back". Otto, the husband, takes this matter-of-factly and sets about learning to cook for himself. Their friend Russell is upset at Etta's disappearance and sets out to find her. Along the way Etta meets James, a talking coyote who travels with her and may or may not be real. There are flashbacks to the human characters' childhoods and young adult days, the years of World War II, and Etta and Otto's marriage. Much of the story leaves you wondering what is real and what is in the heads of the characters. The ending is bewildering and intriguing, leaving it up to the interpretation of the reader. I'm still not sure about this one.

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