Tag Archives: hello goodbye

Treasures from the Strand

I just returned from a very quick trip to NY. The weekend didn't turn out as planned at all – one of my daughters got quite sick while we were there, and we ended up in the hotel room all day yesterday instead of at the Broadway shows we had planned to attend. However, when she finally went to sleep last night, I had an hour-long window to get out of the hotel and go to the Strand before it closed. I halved that hour by taking a cab to the Strand, discovering that I had left my wallet at the hotel, making the cab driver take me back to the hotel to retrieve my wallet, and then returning to the Strand in the same cab. That's how badly I wanted to go.

So I walked in the door of the store around 9:55 PM, and it closed at 10:30. However, while I was there I was able to find half-price hardcover review copies of three books I have had my eye on (and have written about here): Hello Goodbyeby Emily Chenoweth, The GIrls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow, and Sitting Practice by Caroline Adderson. I also picked up a copy of Julie Buxbaum's After You (she's a fellow HLS alum and I have been intrigued by her), and a used copy of Matthew Klam's collection of short stories, Sam the Cat. The latter was an impulse buy from the used fiction section. I rarely read short stories, but these looked good.

Because I really needed five new books to add to the TBR piles.

But it made me so happy to go there and browse and find those books, at the end of a pretty long day, so it was totally worth it. And I was in the checkout line by 10:25. And, I took the subway back.

I love the Strand.

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.