I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place Summary and Reviews

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place

by Howard Norman

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman X
I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman
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  • Published Jul 2013
    208 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"In this luminous memoir, novelist Norman (The Bird Artist) recalls moments of arresting strangeness, even in the midst of his quest to gain clarity and stay balanced emotionally." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A bracing, no-nonsense memoir, infused with fresh takes on love, death and human nature." -Kirkus

"Norman's tale is conversational, elegant, and full of life…He shows that the pleasures of the memoir often lie not in a life of dramatic incident but in the flights and transfigurations of a contemplative mind." - Jane Smiley, Harper's

"Some books celebrate the human condition; others commiserate with us. This memoir does both, and offers fine, subtly fey companionship to boot." - NPR.org

This information about I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Howard Norman Author Biography

Photo: Nancy Crampton

Howard A. Norman, is an American award-winning writer and educator. Most of his short stories and novels are set in Canada's Maritime Provinces. He has written several translations of Algonquin, Cree, and Inuit folklore. His books have been translated into 12 languages.

Howard Norman is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His 1987 novel, The Northern Lights, was nominated for a National Book Award, as was his 1994 novel The Bird Artist.

Norman teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Norman worked on a fire crew with Cree Indians after dropping out of High School. It is during this time that he became fascinated with their ...

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