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.
From Elizabeth Hay, one of Canada's most celebrated novelists, comes a startling and beautiful memoir about the drama of her parents' end, and the longer drama of being their daughter.
Jean and Gordon Hay were a formidable pair. She was an artist and superlatively frugal; he was a proud and principled schoolteacher with an explosive temper. Elizabeth, the so-called difficult child, always suspected she would end up caring for them in their final years, in part to atone for her childhood sins.
Philip Roth once said, "Old age is a massacre". ALL THINGS CONSOLED takes you inside the massacre as Hay's ferociously independent parents become increasingly dependent on her.
With remarkable wit and honesty, Hay lays bare the agony of a family coping as old age turns into the tragedy of living too long. In the end she arrives at a more nuanced understanding of her mother and father, and of herself as their daughter. They were and remain the two vivid giants in her life.
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
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
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
Luminous and moving. - Times Literary Supplement.
ELIZABETH HAY is the author of the #1 bestseller Late Nights on Air (2008), which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her other works include Alone in the Classroom (2012) and His Whole Life (2015). In 2002, she received the prestigious Marian Engel Award, and for All Things Consoled she was the winner of the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Award for Non-fiction. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.