Sunday, August 22, 2010
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...