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Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendshipby Gail Caldwell
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A near-perfect memoir: beautiful, humble, intimate and filled with piercing insights. Meant to be savored and shared." Time
"Stunning...gorgeous....intense and moving....A book of such crystalline truth that it makes the heart ache." The Boston Globe
"[Let's Take the Long Way Home] left me intensely moved....Caldwell's greatest achievement is to rise above [death and loss] to describe both the very best that women can be together and the precious things they can, if they wish, give back to one another: power, humor, love and self-respect." The New York Times Book Review
"[A] beautiful book....The losing isn't the exceptional part of this story; everyone loses something, sooner or later. The wonder lies in finding it in the first place." Salon
"A tribute to the enduring power of friendship....You can shelve Let's Take the Long Way Home...next to The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion's searing memoir about losing her husband to heart failure. But that's assuming it makes it to your shelf: This is a book you'll want to share with your own 'necessary pillars of life,' as Caldwell refers to her nearest and dearest....A lovely gift to readers." Washington Post
"[Their] relationship nurtured and inspired Caldwell and Knapp, and in reading about it, we feel enriched as well." Chicago Tribune
"A heartbreaker of a memoir....With humor and sadness....Caldwell gracefully weaves a thread of stories that describe and ponder friendship and loss." USA Today
Let's Take the Long Way Home is a 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.
About the Author
Gail Caldwell is the former chief book critic for The Boston Globe, where she was a staff writer and critic for more than twenty years. In 2001, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. She is also the author of A Strong West Wind, a memoir of her native Texas. Caldwell lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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