Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Memoir Monday... Let's Take The Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

Let's Take The Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

There's something special about women's friendships. They can be intense, emotional, fulfilling. A common thread can link us together and sustain a friendship through long separations, careers, and men. Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp found that common thread. Let's Take the Long Way Home is Gail's homage to that friendship. A friendship that was the perfect recipe, except that Caroline was diagnosed with terminal cancer... Here's what the publisher writes,

It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.”

So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge.

They met over their dogs. Both writers, Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking: A Love Story, became best friends, talking about everything from their shared history of a struggle with alcohol, to their relationships with men and colleagues, to their love of books. They walked the woods of New England and rowed on the Charles River, and the miles they logged on land and water became a measure of the interior ground they covered. From disparate backgrounds but with striking emotional similarities, these two private, fiercely self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen.

The friendship helped them define the ordinary moments of life as the ones worth cherishing. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion and grief in this moving memoir about treasuring and losing a best friend. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of life and of the transformations that come from intimate connection—and it affirms, once again, why Gail Caldwell is recognized as one of our bravest and most honest literary voices.

I've got my box of tissues ready, because I'll be reading Let's Take the Long Way Home this week. It's gotten a lot of praise from the reading community, and I look forward to reading it even though I know that ultimately it's a sad tale...

7 comments:

Laura @ I'm Booking It said...

Oh, that sounds good! I hope you enjoy it.

Jeanne C. said...

Oh, I saw this in BookPage and I thought it looked good. I just finished the Farrah Fawcett memoir.

Suzanne said...

Hi Laura,
I read a sample of the first chapter and Gail's writing is very compelling. I'll let you know if I enjoy it.

Hi Jeanne,
I missed this somehow in BookPage (which I love)! I read your review of the Farrah Fawcett memoir and because of your review I am putting it on my TBR list! I'll be reviewing this either end of week or next week to let you know if I liked it. Everyone seems to be raving about it though and I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into it!

stpand said...

You can hear a reading by the author at the Forum Network Book Tour Podcast
http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510191

Wednesday, August 18, 2010, 6:26:48 PM
Memoirist and former Boston Globe book critic Gail Caldwell reads from her new memoir, Let's Take the Long Way Home, about her dear friend and colleague, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Caroline Knapp.
WGBH_129286027.mp3

Melissa said...

Oh, I'm really wanting to read this one. I heard an excerpt the other day and it really caught my attention. I was crying in that little excerpt. Can't wait to see your review.

Suzanne said...

Thanks Stpand for sharing the link for the NPR Podcast! I love being able to listen to an author read from her own work and share some insights into their work.

Suzanne said...

Hi Melissa,
I must have heard the same excerpt because I was crying at what I was listening to. It's such a moving story.

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