The Home Stretch
A Father, a Son, and All the Things They Never Talk About
A moving, honest memoir about a man who returns to his rural hometown to take care of his cranky elderly father.
George K. Ilsley explores his complex relationship with his aging father in this candid memoir full of sharp emotion and disarming humour. George's father is ninety-one years old, a widower, and fiercely independent; an avid gardener, he's sweet and more than a little eccentric. But he's also a hoarder who makes embarrassing comments and invitations to women, and he has made no plans whatsoever for what is inevitably coming over the horizon.
Decades after George has moved four time zones away, he begins to make regular trips home to help care for his cranky and uncooperative father, and to sift through the hoarded fragments of his father's life. In doing so, George is forced to confront some uncomfortable family secrets and ugly personal truths, only to discover that the inexorable power of life's journey pulls everyone along in its wake.
The Home Stretch is a beguiling, moving book about aging parents who do not "go gently," and their adult children who must reckon with their own past before helping to guide them on their way.
Absolutely gorgeous. Reading The Home Stretch I laughed and cried, and, like all the best journeys, as I neared home, I laughed and cried at the same time. In fact, the tears are still fresh on my skin, and something as wide open as laughter remains in my chest. I know the father of this story. And the son. It's my father. It's me. George K. Ilsley is a writer of profound grace and equanimity. -Matt Rader, author of Visual Inspection, Desecrations, and What I Want to Tell Goes Like This
The Home Stretch is a wonderful book -- witty, tender, and lucidly written -- about the caregiving of sons and the complicated inheritances of fathers. It is about finding through the challenges of elder care the parent you've never really known. Lifegiving and bracingly honest, George K. Ilsley's writing is a welcomed punch to the heart. -David Chariandy, author of Brother