Eighty-two-year-old Etta has never seen the ocean. So early one morning she takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 3,232 kilometers from Saskatchewan to Halifax.
Her husband Otto wakes to a note left on the kitchen table. I will try to remember to come back, Etta writes. Otto has seen the ocean, having crossed the Atlantic years ago to fight in a far-away war, so he understands. But with Etta gone, the memories come crowding in. The only way to keep them at bay is to keep his hands busy.
Russell, raised as a brother to Otto, has loved Etta from afar for sixty years. He insists on finding Etta, wherever she's gone. Leaving his farm will be the first act of defiance in his whole life.
As Etta walks toward the ocean - accompanied by a coyote named James - memory, illusion, and reality blur. Like the gentle undulation of waves, Etta and Otto and Russell and James moves from a past filled with hunger, war, passion, and hope to a present of quiet industry and peaceful communion; from trying to remember to trying to forget.
A beautiful novel that reminds us that it's never too late to see the things you've longed to see, or to say the things you've longed to say.