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Coming Ashore

A Memoir

by Catherine Gildiner

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personal memoirs
list price: $27.95
also available: Paperback Audiobook eBook
published: 2014
publisher: ECW Press

Picking up her story in the late ’60s at age 21, Cathy Gildiner whisks the reader through five years and three countries, beginning when she is a poetry student at Oxford. Her education extended beyond the classroom to London’s swinging Carnaby Street, the mountains of Wales, and a posh country estate.

After Oxford, Cathy returns to Cleveland, Ohio, which was still reeling from the Hough Ghetto Riots. Not one to shy away from a challenge, she teaches at a high school where police escort teachers through the parking lot. There, she tries to engage apathetic students and tussles with the education authorities.

In 1970, Cathy moves to Canada. While studying literature at the University of Toronto, she rooms with members of the FLQ (Quebec separatists) and then with one of the biggest drug dealers in Canada. Along the way, she falls in love with the man who eventually became her husband and embarks on a new career in psychology.

Coming Ashore brings readers back to a fascinating era populated by lively characters, but most memorable of all is the singular Cathy McClure.

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Contributor notes

Catherine Gildiner’s childhood memoir Too Close to the Falls (1999) was a New York Times bestseller and on the Globe and Mail’s bestseller list for over a year. In 2010, she published a sequel, After the Falls, also a bestseller. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Editorial Review

Coming Ashore is an entertaining, often very funny book by a woman who knows how to spin a good tale.” — Quill & Quire

“Gildiner’s adventures are many, from the rough to the romantic, and elicit genuine laughs along the way.” — Chatelaine

"Part travelogue, part book of secrets, Catherine Gildiner's Coming Ashore captures an era of unrest with honesty, humour and enticing detail. Grab your backpack, don your tie-dye and see the world through Cathy's eyes. You're in for an amazing ride." — Ami McKay, author of The Virgin Cure

"Writing about a time of social transition and cultural upheaval, Catherine Gildiner's guiding voice — charming, affable, unflappable, dryly funny, and keenly perceptive — guides us through seven years of her eventful, extraordinary journey on this planet." — Wayne Johnston, author of The Son of a Certain Woman

“An irresistible roller-coaster ride full of humor, wise insights, and poignant reflections.” — Publishers Weekly

“Gildiner's poignant reflections on her family and her childhood recall her earlier work, but Coming Ashore is a worthy stand-alone memoir, especially for the laugh-out-loud anecdotes, witty chapter titles (‘A Shrew in Shrewsbury’) and vintage photos of the author that open each chapter.” — Shelf Awareness

“If she portrays herself as always the misfit, she nevertheless has earned thousands of loyal fans, including me. My only regret is that, in the preface, she declares this to be her final memoir.” — Waterloo Region Record

"Coming Ashore is enjoyable in the classic Gildiner style: humorous, clever storytelling with the added bonus of the observations of a fish out of water, particularly during her time in England.” — Winnipeg Free Press

Coming Ashore reads like a super-cool lady whispering secrets over cold tea late at night – a lady who holds her liquor so well, she refrains from self-pity and self-aggrandizement. The result is a clear-eyed look at life.” — Globe and Mail

“Peppered with clever one-liners, tongue-in-cheek asides and offbeat rumination.” — Sarnia Observer

“It’s a shame that in the preface to Coming Ashore, author Catherine Gildiner tells the reader that this, the third volume of her memoirs, will be her last . . . Gildiner is an artful storyteller.” — The Canadian Jewish News

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