HELLO GOODBYE by Emily Chenoweth

Here's a book that sounds like it should be incredibly depressing, but is apparently "anything but".

EW had the following review of Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenoweth:

As Helen Hansen's brain cancer spreads, her husband, Elliott, plans one last fling at a grand old hotel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Along with their daughter Abby and all their old friends, the Hansens spend the week reminiscing, drinking, eating, and arguing. Though she doesn't acknowledge it, Helen — who's fading more each day — realizes they've come to say goodbye. Yet what should be a wistful, melancholy tale of grief is somehow anything but; in Emily Chenoweth's graceful hands, Abby is learning to live as her mother is learning to die. A–

S. Krishna also reviewed Hello Goodbye, and concluded that "it is a heartbreaking portrait at a family that is on the verge of falling apart.  It is a glimpse at their last moments of normalcy, of their attempts to live life, before their worlds shatter around them.  I definitely recommend this novel to fans of literary fiction or women's fiction."

Cheryl Strayed at The Oregonian also loved this book:

Hello_goodbye_l[Chenoweth offers] up a story that is equal parts riveting and real, tender and merciless. Her characters are utterly convincing, human in their complexity and contradiction, their bravado and fragility. In chapters that alternate among the three family members, we peer deeply into their psyches and lives, their fears and delusions and deepest desires… Perhaps what I admire most about "Hello Goodbye" is how deftly Chenoweth takes on painful subject matter without sinking into either sentimentality or despair. Her gaze is unflinching, but her hand is light, and though this novel is at times harrowing, it's also a page-turner. This book broke my heart, but like all things capable of breaking our hearts, it has the spark of life."  

Has anyone else out there read this? I'd love to give it a try.

2 Comments

  • July 3, 2009 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    This is on my list of ‘to read’. I just finished Testimony this week. Eh.. Didn’t hate it but didn’t love it either.
    I’m linking to you today.

  • July 3, 2009 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    I haven’t read it, but I want to after reading Swapna’s review.

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