All Things Consoled
By Elizabeth Hay
A poignant, complex and hugely resonant memoir about the shift from being a daughter to a guardian and caregiver, by Giller Prize-winning author.
Winner of the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Award for Non-fiction
A poignant, complex and hugely resonant memoir about the shift from being a daughter to a guardian and caregiver, by a prizewinning author.
Jean and Gordon Hay were a formidable pair. She was an artist and superlatively frugal; he was a proud and well-mannered schoolteacher with a temper that could be explosive. Elizabeth, their oldest daughter, was said to be a difficult and selfish child. Elizabeth always suspected she would end up caring for her parents in their final years, a way of making up for the sins of her childhood, proving herself to be a good daughter after all. But as her parents, who had been ferociously independent people, became increasingly dependent on her, their lives changed utterly and so did hers. Philip Roth once said, "Old age is a massacre." All Things Consoled takes you inside the massacre.
In this startlingly beautiful memoir Elizabeth Hay offers insight into the exquisite agony of a family's dynamics and reaches a deep understanding of the most unforgettable characters she will ever know, the vivid giants who were her parents.
Elizabeth Hay is the bestselling, award-winning author of Late Nights on Air, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her other works include A Student of Weather (finalist for the Giller Prize and the Ottawa Book Award), Garbo Laughs (winner of the Ottawa Book Award and a finalist for the Governor General's Award), and Small Change (stories). In 2002, she received the prestigious Marian Engel Award. Elizabeth Hay lives and writes in Ottawa.
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- Publication date:
22 Aug 2019
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This book is likely to break your heart, and it will definitely make you think about your own family in the context of ageing. — Quill and Quire.
As a novel, this book would have been heartbreaking. But, being a memoir, it is 10 times more powerful. Those of us who have lived through similar experiences with ageing, ailing parents can discern the truth to Hay's book. — Artsfile
Hay has written about it all, with care and candour, in a remarkable memoir — Maclean's
Elizabeth Hay is a marvel. She honours her parents in this portrait of their final years. As steadfast a daughter as she is a writer, Hay writes with sometimes scalding authenticity about aging and the challenges that come with the end of a life, but she is never less than tender. I loved this moving memoir — Michael Redhill, author of Bellevue Square
Piercingly candid and exquisitely written, Elizabeth Hay's memoir describes the intensity of the love, uncertainty and exasperation triggered by her parents' dying. Yet there is humour here, too, even - especially - after the final goodbyes — Charlotte Gray, author of The Promise of Canada
In All Things Consoled, Hay chronicles with breath-taking honesty the ravages of age and decline. She also shows how love, beauty and the sustenance of writing are a kind of balm for this reality of the human experience — C.B.C. Books
Poignant, poetic and sharply observed — Winnipeg Free Press