As part of our Best Books of 2010 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
Gail Caldwell's memoir of friendship, Let's Take the Long Way Home, was a big hit in the BookPage office this year. (In fact, not a single one of us was able to read it without crying.) It's not only a stunning exploration of the bonds of friendship and the way that those relationships evolve over time; it's also a beautiful tribute to Caldwell's friend, the writer Caroline Knapp (best known for Drinking: A Love Story), who died of lung cancer in 2002.
Caldwell and Knapp first met after a mutual friend, a dog trainer, told them they should get to know each other. They were both writers, both utterly devoted to their dogs, and before long, it became clear that they had another trait in common: They were both recovering alcoholics.
In just under 200 pages, Caldwell delves into her friendship with Knapp, and the depth of her grief after Knapp's death, with an insight and intensity I have rarely seen elsewhere. I could throw a raft of adjectives at her prose—sharp, luminous, haunting, joyful—but I can't hope to capture the precise qualities that make reading this memoir such a profound experience. Suffice it to say that I was a different person when I put it down, having witnessed the best part of human nature: the ability to love our friends, wildly and fully, for all of their flaws as well as their strengths, and to allow ourselves to be loved in return.
Read an interview with Gail Caldwell in BookPage.
Browse BookPage’s Best of 2010 coverage.
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11. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (Dial, May 2010)
12. The Passage by Justin Cronin (Ballantine, June 2010)
13. My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (Doubleday, November 2010)
14. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff (Little, Brown, November 2010)
15. The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass (Pantheon, September 2010)
Find the rest of our Best of 2010 coverage here.