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Elizabeth Hay ò 0 review

E each startling characters in their own right her mother is a true skinflint who would rather serve up wormy soup twice than throw away an ancient packet of perfectly good mix; her father is a proud and well mannered man with a temper that can be explosive All Things Consoled is a startlingly beautiful memoir that addresses the exuisite agony of family the unstoppable force of dementia and the inevitability of agi. Ancient Romans used to distinguish between senectus still lively and decrepitus done for from Akin by Emma Donoghue In this memoir about her relationship with her parents specifically about their last few years Hay speaks plainly of her belief that they lived too long a sentiment they would also have echoed Their final years were marked by illness depression and her mother s dementia it was all so difficult and expensive Gordon and Jean Hay stumbled into their early nineties in an Ottawa retirement home they d moved into in early 2009 so they could be just down the road from their daughter after 40 years living in London Ontario The last straw had been her mother s knee surgery and infection after which her mind was never the same and she couldn t return to her paintingElizabeth Hay is one of four children but caregiving fell to her for one reason and another and it was bound to be a fraught task because of her parents prickly personalities Her mother could be cheerful but also had a history of being critical and thrifty to the point of absurdity cooking a soup mix though it had worms in it spooning thick mold off apple sauce and serving it needling Elizabeth for dumping perfectly good chicken juice a year ago Her father meanwhile had a terrible temper and a history of corporal punishment of his children and of his students when he was a school principal When they packed for the move to Ottawa he didn t take his own daughter s novels Now that just seems like spiteThere are many such harsh moments in this memoir but almost as many wry ones with Hay picking just the right anecdotes to illustrate her parents behavior and the shifting family dynamic There s a lemon meringue pie that s particularly memorable towards the book s end And Hay never looks away no matter how hard it all gets Her father s rage against the dying of the light What about me Nincompoop I m going to live And the rest of you are going to hell contrasts with her mother s fade into confusion which was lightened by the surprisingly poetic turns of phrase she came out with despite her aphasia The title phrase for instance was her attempt at all things considered I wholeheartedly recommend this to readers of Hay s novels but anyone can appreciate the picture of complicated love and grief

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All Things Consoled A Daughter's Memoir

Elizabeth Hay one of Canada's most beloved novelists has written a poignant complex and hugely resonant memoir about the shift she experienced between being her parents' daughter to their guardian and caregiverAs the daughter takes charge and the writer takes notes her mother and father are like two legendary icebergs floating south They melt into the ocean of partial painful inconsistent and funny stories that a f. acts of love are never uncomplicated Acclaimed Canadian novelist Elizabeth Hay has produced a beautifully written and affecting memoir about her parents last years In 2008 when Hay s narrative opens the frail couple are in their late eighties and living in London Ontario a mid sized city in the southwest of the province some seven hours drive from the author s Ottawa home Gordon Elizabeth s father had been an ambitious secondary school teacher of history and then a high school principal He had worked hard to advance his career ultimately becoming a professor of education at the local university A frightening gloomy figure volcanic in temperament he would erupt with fury when disobeyed once throwing his young son hard enough across the dining room for the boy to reuire stitches He would later feel deeply ashamed by his loss of control but sadly incapable of apology Jean Stevenson Hay Elizabeth s mother was born in the Ottawa Valley in 1919 the same year as her husband and had apparently trained as a nurse before marrying and bearing four children Elizabeth being the third Jean ultimately turned to art making adventurous journeys in her sixties to Canada s far north in order to explore and sketch the terrain of Ellesmere Island alongside scientists This was a time when grants were available for artists to travel to the Canadian Arctic Throughout her married life Jean worked steadily to counterbalance her husband s dark energy attempting to bring light into the home Having a painter s studio built just off the side of their house when she was 65 no doubt allowed her the physical space for her creativity to flourish and her psychological health to be preservedBy the end of January 2009 after her mother had undergone two knee surgeries due to a streptococcal lung infection that had spread through the blood Hay had arranged for Gordon and Jean to live at a retirement home in Ottawa just a short walk from her house The move would allow Elizabeth to visit them daily and tend to their needs Hay documents the physical and cognitive decline of both parents as well as many painful memories from the past A particularly sad anecdote concerns Hay s father s failure to acknowledge his daughter s literary achievements When it came time to winnow down his personal library before vacating the London house Gordon left behind his daughter s seven novels personally inscribed to her parents Growing up and even in adulthood Hay s relationship with both parents was fraught All three of them were touchy defensive easily set off Hay feared and even hated her disapproving and fury prone father and she harboured anger towards her mother who had been so committed to keeping the peace that she did not defend or protect her daughter Hay is frank about her motivation for taking on the care of her parents as they neared their end it was due to a kind of competitiveness a desire to be loved the best of the four childrenThis memoir makes clear that old age can be terrifying gruelling and heartbreaking not just for those who endure the ravages directly the elderly themselves but for the family members who are there for the duration In their final years and months Hay s parents often expressed the wish that it could all just end uickly with the help of a pill In spite of all that is so difficult as loved ones lives wind down there can be moments of beauty and love There can be opportunities to better understand family members and to appreciate the essential vulnerability of all even those who have frightened us Hay writes about some of these moments and about how she came to understand just how deeply her parents lives had been woven togetherHay s father died in 2011 her mother in 2012 A small photograph of the two together provides a touching and humble conclusion to an interesting and moving narrative

review All Things Consoled A Daughter's Memoir

Amily makes over time Hay's elouent memoir distills these stories into basic truths about parents and children and their efforts of understanding With her uncommon sharpness and wit Elizabeth Hay offers her insights into the peculiarities of her family's dynamics her parents' marriage sibling rivalries miscommunications that spur decades of resentment all matched by true and genuine love and devotion Her parents ar. Emotionally devastating Elizabeth Hay writes with unflinching honesty and lyrical beauty This book feels like a gift


10 thoughts on “All Things Consoled A Daughter's Memoir

  1. says:

    Beautiful truthful heartfelt memoir about Elizabeth's aging parentsElizabeth's brimful relationship at times her parents illness dementia retirement home financial realtiesand ultimately loveThe last chapters were especially moving

  2. says:

    “acts of love are never uncomplicated” Acclaimed Canadian novelist Elizabeth Hay has produced a beautifully written and affecting memoir about her parents’ last years In 2008 when Hay’s narrative opens the frail couple are in their late eighties and living in London Ontario a mid sized city in the southwest of the provinc

  3. says:

    I was in dangerous personal territory in fraught border country in which my parents were sliding into neediness and I was rising in power yet lo

  4. says:

    Emotionally devastating Elizabeth Hay writes with unflinching honesty and lyrical beauty This book feels like a gift

  5. says:

    Heart breaking personal authentic raw not an Alzheimer's book or how to guide a story of one family yet a story of every family Will make you think differently about parenting our parents and how you might handle being parented by your children in the future or making choices not to bevery real and timely conversation starter for our generation People are living so much longer than in our grandparent's genera

  6. says:

    What a remarkable book Elizabeth Hay is a brilliant beautiful effective writer Here she takes on the most difficult subject of all the adult child and her parents in decline Agonizing So honest it is sometimes off putting freeing us all from

  7. says:

    so good elizabeth hay tells a difficult story with grace while this memoir will be relatable for anyone with ag

  8. says:

    “Ancient Romans used to distinguish between senectus still lively and decrepitus done for” from Akin by Emma Donoghue In this memoir about her relationship with her parents specifically about their last few years Hay speaks plainly of her belief that they lived too long a sentiment they would also have echoed Their final years

  9. says:

    35 STARS This was the first time I had read a book by Canadian author Elizabeth Hay In All Things Consoled she writes about her complicated r

  10. says:

    A tale of consolation love and coming to terms with the messiness of family as the author cares for her parents as they age Tissues are needed as Hay's says good bye to her parents and reflects on lifetimes of moments as their relationship changed as they aged and declined

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