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I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by…

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

by Howard Norman

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Beautifully written and unusual memoir of various emotional tipping points in Norman's life. There is a sense of intimacy in his language and tone which made me feel as though we were sitting in the same room and he was telling me about his life. ( )
1 vote ccayne | Mar 11, 2014 |
This book is unlike any memoir I have ever read and for that, I was glad. It was so incredibly refreshing to read about something other than addiction/alcoholism, etc. Norman's memoir is more about stories (his own and others), and how they help us grapple with issues we face in our lives. Norman picks five different times in his life where death and dying shaped his paths and understanding about life. While this sounds depressing, it really isn't, more like pensive and introspective. While it's not cheery reading exactly, there are just many beautiful, serene and startling moments of wonder. Norman's life thus far has been so incredibly different than most and he just has some wonderful, real stories to tell. Truth be told, I have never been a huge fan of his fiction writing, so I was really surprised how awesome this book is. I did not have any expectations and I was just felt very fortunate that Mr. Norman took readers along to meet some of the people, see some of the sights and hear the stories of both. Highly recommended for something a bit off the beaten path (and if you have any interest in birds and/or Arctic/Inuit folks and folklore), and just getting lost inside someone else's world for a while. ( )
2 vote CarolynSchroeder | Dec 24, 2013 |
This is memoir and really only covers a part of the author's life. I enjoyed the second part more than the first. His family home in D.C. became the scene of a crime while he and his family were vacationing in Vermont. The impact on his daughter and wife but mostly himself were written so beautifully. This is a very gifted writer. ( )
  dablackwood | Aug 29, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547385420, Hardcover)

“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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:30 -0400)

A memoir details the haunting and redemptive events of the author's life, covering such topics as his con-man father's betrayal, the murder-suicide of a houseguest, and his decade spent in the Arctic as a translator of Inuit tales.

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