Etta and Otto and Russell and James (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

      This is an unusual book, and an incredible debut. The story bounces around in time and place over 65 or more years, from one era to another. It's a story of being who you want to be, what you want to experience, and how we love each other. There is a element of magic to the story, especially for James, that makes this seem like a fairy tale of quiet beauty and truths. I really can only say that this book is amazing and unforgettable and should be read immediately." ~ Jackie                                                                           

— Jackie is Book Blogger #1 at Tattered Cover. Her word is gold.

February 2015 Indie Next List

“Eighty-three-year-old Etta Vogel quietly sets out one day to walk 3,200 kilometers to the coast of Canada for her first view of the ocean. As Etta travels, author Hooper gently and poignantly reveals a lifetime of morally charged events that shaped Etta as well as her husband, Otto, and her lifelong friend, Russell. This is a beautiful and sometimes hauntingly stark portrait of three WWII-generation lives, sprinkled with the wise counsel of a loyal coyote named James. I loved it!”
— Susan Tyler, The Book Bin, Onley, VA


A gorgeous literary debut about unlikely heroes, lifelong promises, and last great adventures.


The letter began, in blue ink,

I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. Don't worry, I've left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back.

Yours (always),


Otto finds the note left by his wife in the kitchen of their farmhouse in windswept Saskatchewan. Eighty-three-year-old Etta will be walking 3,200 kilometers to see the ocean, but somehow, Otto understands. He took his own journey once before, to fight in a faraway land.

With Etta gone, Otto struggles with his demons of war, while their friend Russell initially pursues the woman he has loved from afar.

And James--well, James you have to meet on the page.

Moving from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion, from trying to remember to trying to forget, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is an astounding literary debut about friendship and love, hope and honor, and the romance of last--great--adventures.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781476755670
ISBN-10: 1476755671
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 20th, 2015
Pages: 320
Language: English