Posted by Merry Mao on October 22nd, 2010
Title: Let’s Take the Long Way Home
Author: Gail Caldwell
Publisher: Random House, 2010
“It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” So begins Gail Caldwell’s devastatingly beautiful memoir about her soul-deep friendship with writer Caroline Knapp, who died from lung cancer at the age of 42. It is a true privilege to bear witness to the relationship that develops between these two women. It’s seems as though they were twins, separated at birth, twins whose lives had unknowingly taken eerily similar paths – successful writing careers, alcoholism, canine companions, a love of watersports – only to be reunited in a friendship that completes them both.
At the heart of their friendship are the dogs, Lucille and Clementine – it’s during hours-long walks through the woods with them that Gail and Caroline begin and build their relationship. It’s not hard to believe, then, that Caroline’s spirit is summoned when the woods become a dark place during a particularly terrifying event for Gail and Clementine, coming to their aid.
Whenever we open our hearts to love, we know that we’re also making ourselves vulnerable to the pain of loss. The story of this “pack of four” is an elegant reminder of why we take the plunge again and again.
If you like this try: “Drinking: A Love Story” and “Pack of Two” by Caroline Knapp