Let's Take the Long Way Home

A Memoir of Friendship

By Gail Caldwell
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812979114, 224pp.)

Publication Date: August 9, 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2012 Reading Group
“This is the heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of the author's deep friendship with writer Caroline Knapp. Through rowing, swimming, writing, their dogs, and sharing life experiences, they nurture a connection that we would all love to have with someone. An honest and unforgettable tribute to best friends.”
-- Ellen Jarrett, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the August 2010 Indie Next List


Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

They met over their dogs. Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp (author of Drinking: A Love Story) became best friends, talking about everything from their love of books and their shared history of a struggle with alcohol to their relationships with men. Walking the woods of New England and rowing on the Charles River, these two private, self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with cancer. With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion, and courage in this gorgeous memoir about treasuring a best friend, and coming of age in midlife. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of the profound 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.

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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.




NPR
Saturday, Aug 7, 2010

Gail Caldwell wasn't looking to make friends when she met Caroline Knapp. But gradually the women's lives became thoroughly intertwined, and they formed a sisterly bond that lasted until the day Caroline died of lung cancer. Now Caldwell has written a memoir, Let's Take the Long Way Home, about their friendship. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. The book’s subtitle is “A Memoir of Friendship.” Why it is not simply “A Memoir,” and what does this say about the book as a whole? Whose story, at heart, would you say this is? 




Praise For Let's Take the Long Way Home

“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
 
“Female friendships is the beating heart of this book. . . . [Gail Caldwell describes] 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.”—Julie Myerson, The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice
 
“[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, Editor’s Choice

“Universal . . . [Caldwell] taps the joys of communion with a soulmate.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“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

“High-spirited and heartrending.”—People

“Caldwell’s graceful account ensures that Knapp will be remembered not just for her tragic death but for her vigorous, rich life.”—Parade

NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME MAGAZINE
 
SELECTED AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington PostLos Angeles TimesUSA TodaySan Francisco ChronicleO: The Oprah MagazineThe Christian Science MonitorPublishers Weekly

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