A Memoir

Paperback - 2008
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Shortlisted for the 2009 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction In September 1995, Cathy Ostlere, her husband, and three children are visiting with the family in Calgary to celebrate her younger brother David's birthday. It had been a family tradition that no matter where in the world David might be-from Australia to India to England-he would call on his birthday to reconnect and reminisce. As they wait and wonder, a horrifying thought takes shape in Cathy's mind: knowing how their parents have worried about David in the past, he has begged Cathy not to tell them about his latest adventure-sailing his twenty-eight-foot sailboat 1200 miles from Ireland to the tropical island of Madeira off the coast of Spain with his girlfriend Sarah. The trip should have taken them two weeks. Maybe three. But after two months, she has to break her silence. With each hour that passes and still no word she defensively parries the unacceptable but bleak inevitable: something has happened. David must be dead. Thus begins Lost , Cathy Ostlere's remarkable and unforgettable journey in search of closure, and emotional redemption. From Madeira-where her search for David and Sarah begins-to Ireland and on to the Scottish island of Mull where, months later, Sarah's family has gathered to grieve, Cathy finds herself stirred by snapshot memories of David, of their life growing up together. Of family and what it means. In search of answers she finds instead only new and sometimes more troubling questions-questions that will come to have profound repercussions in her own life. How do we know our true passions? In a life defined by obligations, what are the risks? And what is the consequence for following our passion? A heartrending story of a woman's search for her missing brother, Lost is an extraordinary meditation on the meaning of family and what it is to live an authentic life. Excerpt from Lost: Today is my youngest brother's birthday. September 30, 1995. For the last seven years, David has telephoned from wherever he is in the world. He never forgets and neither do we. He sometimes calls each of us-my parents, a brother and sister in Winnipeg, and me in Calgary. We say Happy Birthday, our voices carried through deep cables across the ocean. In 1988, the year he met an Englishwoman named Sarah, he called from Brisbane, Australia. "We've sold the car and we're going to Japan." In 1990, he was in Bangalore, India. "I never used to believe in God, but perhaps I was wrong," he said, his voice crumbling into static. This morning, my parents are expecting to hear his voice from a telephone booth in the south of England. But they will be mistaken. I am the only one in the family who knows that my brother and Sarah are headed to the open Atlantic. They plan to sail from Ireland to the Azores Archipelago and then on to the island of Madeira. By the end of today, I won't have to keep their secret any longer. The waiting begins in the morning. Calgary is seven hours behind the U.K., we expect the call no later than noon. We root ourselves to the kitchen table. The Saturday newspaper is divided into sections: Spain is filing a suit against Canada over the turbot fish war, the Blue Bombers beat the Ti-Cats. My husband Sam makes fresh coffee. Cold toast is replaced with warm buttery slices. The sun moves from behind the evergreens into the open sky and heats the kitchen. The air smells of browning apple peels. My three children graze, then spin off, dancing erratic orbits throughout the house. I am silent while staring at the excess of breakfast. At ten, I lift the receiver to check for a dial tone, its comforting assurance of possibility. Who can I speak to? "Don't tell anyone where we're going," my brother instructed in his last phone call. "You know how Mom will be." I remember my own travels. She worried every minute. "Happiness is no way to live a life," I answered him jokingly.
Publisher: Toronto : Key Porter, 2008.
ISBN: 9781554700431
Characteristics: 240 pages :,illustrations ;,21 cm.


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Aug 06, 2013

This book is beautifully written. I loved it.

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