224 pages, 7.99 × 5.19 × 0.57 in
August 9, 2011
Random House Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0812979117
ISBN - 13: 9780812979114
Read from the Book
Chapter OneI can still see her standing on the shore, a towel around her neck and a post-workout cigarette in her hand—half Gidget and half splendid splinter, her rower’s arms in defiant contrast to the awful pink bathing suit she’d found somewhere. It was the summer of 1997, and Caroline and I had decided to swap sports: I would give her swimming lessons and she would teach me how to row. This arrangement explained why I was crouched in my closest friend’s needle-thin racing shell, twelve inches across at its widest span, looking less like a rower than a drunken spider. We were on New Hampshire’s Chocorua Lake, a pristine mile-long body of water near the White Mountains, and the only other person there to watch my exploits was our friend Tom, who was with us on vacation.“Excellent!” Caroline called out to me every time I made the slightest maneuver, however feeble; I was clinging to the oars with a white- knuckled grip. At thirty-seven, Caroline had been rowing for more than a decade; I was nearly nine years older, a lifelong swimmer, and figured I still had the physical wherewithal to grasp the basics of a scull upon the water. But as much as I longed to imitate Caroline, whose stroke had the precision of a metronome, I hadn’t realized that merely sitting in the boat would feel as unstable as balancing on a floating leaf. How had I let her talk me into this?Novice scullers usually learn in a boat three times the width and weight of Caroline’s Van Dusen; later, she confessed
From the Publisher
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.
“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 grac