The Staircase Letters

The Staircase Letters

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Full of the magic of everyday life in the shadow of deatha€“chickens must be cooked for dinner parties, and grandsona€™s questions about God must be answered!a€“The Staircase Letters is a moving and profound story of friendship and facing the end of life. When Elma Gerwin found out in 2001 at the age of 61 that she had cancer, she reached out to two coasts and to two old friends. One was Arthur Motyer, novelist and teacher, and Elmaa€™s university professor from forty years before, and the other was acclaimed novelist Carol Shields, who was facing her own battle with cancer. Years later, Arthur is the only survivor. Still contemplating how Elmaa€™s and Carola€™s correspondence affected him, he has gracefully brought the letters together and interspersed them with literary references and poetry. As both womena€™s illnesses progress, they compare notes on the ups and downs of living with cancera€“the joy when Elma is told one area is cancer-free, followed quickly by the terrible news that the cancer has spread; the delight in having family near, while the thought of saying goodbye seems impossible. The advice they give each othera€“from how to approach treatments to how to get to sleep at nighta€“is heartfelt, warm and often leavened with humour. As Carol and Elma contemplate what happiness is and how one makes a a€œgood death, a€ 74-year-old Arthur, feeling inadequate in the face of such fundamental questions, discovers that he is exactly where he should be. In The Staircase Letters, the reader catches a rare and touching glimpse of the lives of three extraordinary peoplea€“two facing death and one left behind. From the Hardcover edition.On one occasion, it was to congratulate her on being nominated for one of the world a#39;s great literary prizes, the Booker, to which she responded: a€œThank you for such warm words. I am indeed delighted. And astonished. Three Canadians. Carolanbsp;...

Title:The Staircase Letters
Author:Arthur Motyer
Publisher:Vintage Canada - 2010-08-13


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