Tuesday 10 October 2023

All Things Consoled

Finished October 2
All Things Consoled: a Daughter's Memoir by Elizabeth Hay

This memoir covers the last few years of Hay's parents lives, her relationship with them then and earlier, and the life that went on around them. She really brings her parents to life in terms of personality, both good and bad aspects, and tries to discover what made them act the way they did. 
Her father could be charming or cruel, kind or curt, jealous or complimentary. Her mother observant or forgetful, docile or independent, a peacemaker or troublesome. We see these different pieces of them and how they influenced her and her relationship with them as well as her siblings. We can also see how her parents' actions affected the relationships between siblings. 
Because she was the closest to where they lived, it made sense to move them from London, Ontario to Ottawa as they became unable to live on their own. While she touches on bits of emptying the house they lived in for years, it is only a note compared to the relationships that she looks at more closely. Both her parents had failing health and her mother had dementia. The title of the book is from a comment her mother made to her. 
A fascinating look into someone else's life, I found it sad at times, and funny at others. We see the roles that education, art, pride, and nature had in their lives and how they both loved each other and were annoyed by each other. 
Hay's wonderful writing shows here. 

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