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for New Members is a beautifully written little book...a gem.
The thoughts are striking and orginal--a
few are quite profound."
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Monday, February 2, 2015
4:36 pm est
This has been, so far, a very stark, yet wet and cold winter. And today, Punxsutawney Phil, that enigmatic
groundhog (a gopher, actually) saw his shadow. So now, according to him, we are in for another six weeks of winter. Ahem,
folks…I beg to tell you that even if “Phil” had not seen his shadow, it’s still six weeks until March
20, this year’s Spring Equinox. To be honest, I can’t wait. Please! Bring on the warmth. Bring on the sun! And
yet, oh woe, as I am writing this on yet another cold, dreary late Monday afternoon, it’s starting to snow. Pardon the
intended pun, but I’ve had my fill of cold weather.
Well, at least I am safe and warm in my humble
abode (as I hope you are, too!), crammed with books and basset and mewling cat who doesn’t understand why he can’t
be out sunning himself on the deck. “Too cold,” I tell him. “Even for you…” as he stops staring
out the French doors and slinks away to find a patch of heat in front of the fire. As for FrankieB…Well, his job is
to nestle under the raggedy quilt on the couch as he tries to keep it from levitating. To be out in the nasty weather these
days is, to me, unthinkable.
And even more unfathomable is walking in it…Yet that is exactly what 83
year-old Etta does after leaving Otto, her husband, a note and shouldering his rifle. Out the door she goes into the starkness
of the northern backwoods. She’s off to find the ocean, on the other side of Canada, nearly 3,200 kilometes away from
their Saskatchewan farm. Image being all alone, with the barest of provisions, in the near dead of winter…at that
age…trekking cross the stark countryside in search of…What?
And then along comes James…
Not to give away what I’ve come to realize is the bare essence of Emma Hooper’s first novel, Etta and Otto and Russell and James (but I think I am about to, anyway), I’ve often heard that animals, especially those in the wild, leave their packs,
herds, pods, and familiar groupings when they sense that their time has come. They wander off alone in search of the “perfect”
place to take their last breathes. I read somewhere that even Native Americans did this…and so, again with the ***SPOILER
ALERT***, this seems to be precisely what aging Etta does. Although the canny author with her uncanny writing ability does
not actually tell us this is so. Only James…howls. But before he does, there’s a whole novel chuck full of four
wonderful people (James included), each with their own powerfully rich story to tell.
Intrigued? You should be.
Now, please warp drive your way over to www.authorexposure.com to read my review of this intriguing literary offering while I (sun)beam myself over to the couch and join the animules for
a bit of communal warmth. Brrrrrr!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville
during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her fourth novel.