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Download Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel, by Emma Hooper Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Emma Hooper Narrator: Robert G. Slade Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A gorgeous literary debut about an elderly woman’s last great adventure walking across Canada. A beautiful novel of pilgrimage, of fulfilling lifelong promises, of a talking coyote called James, of unlikely heroes and hundreds of papier-mâché animals.

Eighty-two-year-old Etta has never seen the ocean. So early one morning she takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 3,232 kilometers from rural Canada eastward to the coast. Her husband Otto wakes to a note left on the kitchen table. “I will try to remember to come back,” Etta writes to him. Otto has seen the ocean, having crossed the Atlantic years ago to fight in a faraway war. He understands. But with Etta gone, the memories come crowding in and Otto struggles to keep them at bay. 

Russell has spent his whole life trying to keep up with Otto and loving Etta from afar. Russell insists on finding Etta, wherever she’s gone. Leaving his own farm will be the first act of defiance in his life.

As Etta walks further toward the ocean, accompanied by a coyote named James, the lines among memory, illusion, and reality blur.

Rocking back and forth with the pull of the waves, Etta and Otto and Russell and James moves from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty burnt past of hunger, war, passion, and hope; from trying to remember to trying to forget; and inspires each of its characters to visit the sites they’ve longed to see and say the things they’ve longed to say. This is dazzling literary fiction about the rediscovery and care of the soul, and the idea it’s never too late for a great adventure.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Etta and Otto and Russell and James is incredibly 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, New York Times bestselling author of Gold

  • “Heartfelt…In simple, graceful prose, Hooper has woven a tale of deep longing, for reinvention and self-discovery, as well as for the past and for love and for the boundless unknown.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “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.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “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.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Hooper’s debut is a novel of memory and longing and desires too long denied…To a Cormac McCarthy–like narrative—sans quotation marks, featuring crisp, concise conversations—Hooper adds magical realism…The book ends with sheer poetry…A masterful near homage to Pilgrim’s Progress: souls redeemed through struggle.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “A remarkable story about holding onto dreams…Emma Hooper’s debut is intelligent, moving, and captivating. Inspired by a piece of her own family history, the author examines with creativity the consequences of great love and loss, blurring the lines between memory, illusion, and reality. Perfectly crafted and endearing in its unpredictability, Etta and Otto and Russell and James pulls readers along with every page turn.”

    BookPage

  • “Narrator Robert G. Slade successfully combines a matter-of-fact tone with a slightly dreamy one to capture just the right note for Emma Hooper’s fable as it slips back and forth in time. Slade ensures that the listener feels the dust of the prairies that settles everywhere, including the back of the throat; the gratitude and loneliness of Russell; the fear and opportunity of WWII; and the whimsy in Otto’s decision to build papier-mâché animals. As Etta walks, she’s joined by reporters and supporters but mostly by James. Slade voices James with a low, almost seductively dangerous, tenor—perfect for a coyote.”

    AudioFile

  • A BookPage Top Pick for January 2015
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