I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

Book - 2013
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"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.
Publisher: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2013, ©2013.
ISBN: 9780547385426
Branch Call Number: 819. 3 NOR N
Characteristics: xii, 194 pages ; 22 cm


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Sep 23, 2020

The guy uses some nice words to string sentences together but it goes nowhere. I actually read the first part which had some redeeming qualities about studying wild birds in Saskatchewan Wildlife reserves and parks while recovering from a broken heart caused because his older lover died in a plane crash. He got a job up north gathering stories from the Inuit people which is a worthy endeaver, but how long does that take? 10 years? Give me a break! I began skimming during his Eskimo wasted years and all that superstitious dribble and the hoogida boogida band and inept pilot, then he flew south. He went on and on about his home and how he noticed birds and what he did and what he ate and how he dug a well and how he didn't get along with his brother and how someone he knew killed someone and how an owl ate a cat and how he slept and his dreams and and and how he didn't benefit from pychotherapy, WHATEVER!--------I don't hate to leave this NOT beautiful book. Boring

Jun 23, 2015

Memoir/autobiography/collection of essays from an excellent fiction writer. This is a pretty personal collection, and there are some tough times in Norman's life. The title of the book reflects a recurring theme in his life, and ultimately describes his family home which was the site of a murder/suicide of a housesitting acquaintance.
Interesting and easy reading.
Norman's fiction is built around his love for birds and the Inuit people, and also worth reading. Start with "The Bird Artist".

ChristchurchLib Sep 17, 2013

"Novelist and memoirist Howard Norman reminisces on the unusual people he's encountered and situations where he's found himself, detailing each episode in autobiographical essays that evoke strange, sometimes mystical events, humorous conversations, and even a murder-suicide. In the background are always the healing grace of life in the wilderness and the power of words to produce and maintain balance." September 2013 Biography and Memoir http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=678915

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