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I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place Cover

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

By Howard Norman

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), Hardcover, 9780547385426, 194pp.

Publication Date: July 9, 2013

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Description
-A bracing and no-nonsense memoir, infused with fresh takes on love, death, and human nature.- -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
As with many of us, the life of acclaimed novelist Howard Norman has had its share of incidents of -arresting strangeness.- Yet few of us connect these moments, as Norman has done in this spellbinding memoir, to show how life tangles with the psyche to become art. Norman's story begins with a portrait, both harrowing and hilarious, of a Midwest boyhood summer working in a bookmobile, in the shadow of a grifter father and under the erotic tutelage of his brother's girlfriend. His life story continues in places as far-flung as the Arctic, where he spends part of a decade as a translator of Inuit tales--including the story of a soapstone carver turned into a goose whose migration-time lament is -I hate to leave this beautiful place---and in his beloved Point Reyes, California, as a student of birds. In the Arctic, he receives news over the radio that -John Lennon was murdered tonight in the city of New York in the USA.- And years later, in Washington, D.C., another act of deeply felt violence occurs in the form of a murder-suicide when Norman and his wife loan their home to a poet and her young son. Norman's story is also stitched together with moments of uncanny solace. Of life in his Vermont farmhouse Norman writes, -Everything I love most happens most every day.-
In the hands of Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist and What Is Left the Daughter, life's arresting strangeness is made into a profound, creative, and redemptive memoir.
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