Home books The Year In Books – February

The Year In Books – February

by Clare Mansell
The Year In Books – February

At the end of my second month of The Year In Books I have almost finished reading my third book and I’m well and truly back into the swing of reading – hurray! My book choice for February was Etta and Otto and Russell and James. I’ve noticed it popping up a lot on Instagram, so its obviously a popular choice.


My copy was bought for me by Jim as a Christmas gift, it’s rare that he goes off piste with book choices rather than selecting something from my Amazon wish list, but he chose pretty well with this one.

The reason he picked it is that it’s set on the Canadian Prairies with part of the action taking place in Saskatchewan, which is the province to the east of Alberta where we lived for two years. This meant I was able to visualise the scenery perfectly and the wide open spaces and farm land which is depicted.

The story is set on two times. Telling the tale of Etta & Otto a married couple and their lifelong friend Russell (James also comes into it too, but I won’t give too much away!) We hear how they met in the past and what they are up to now. As the book starts Etta has begun to walk across Canada to the east coast, a vast distance for anyone, but particularly so for an elderly woman as she is by that point.

The book has some strange twists and turns and by the time I reached the end I found I’d just read yet another book that I had to google in order to understand the ending of. Upon further investigation it turns out that quite a lot of the story is deliberately ambiguous (including the ending) and you aren’t really supposed to know what actually happened and what was a product of Etta’s failing mind.

So quite an original concept for a book, but it did leave me feeling a little deflated at the end. The story set in the past concluded, the one in the present? Well who knows what happened really…


On the plus side having ploughed through it in two weeks I was able to pick a second read for the month, so I chose High Tide  by Veronica Henry. My purchase was based almost entirely on the fact that the cover image looks incredibly like my local town. I’m currently a couple of days away from finishing it, but its panning out as expected. Very easy airport style literature. Good for a little escapism, but not much more.

My choice for next month is… something a bit different. The Breaking of the Shell  by Barry Durdant-Hollamby is a bit of a Paulo Cohelo type book mixing fiction with philosophy. It has rave reviews on Amazon, so it will be interesting to see what I make of it.   ...Dark Places by Gillian Flynn the author of Gone Girl.

In the meantime I welcome any recommendations in the comments of books you have read recently…

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1 comment

Pamela | Life With Munchers March 1, 2016 - 8:47 am

I only ever have time to read on holiday sadly. Reading will always be that peaceful sanctuary from everyday blah x


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