Cathie Borrie

The Long Hello

In this tender and affecting memoir, author Cathie Borrie takes us deeply inside the experience of caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease. The Long Hello demonstrates how caregiving creates an opportunity to experience the change in a relationship that illness necessitates, one in which joy, innocence, and profound intimacy can flourish. Borrie captures the seven years during which she cared for her mother through wondrously poetic dialogue, and augments that story with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities. The Long Hello offers comfort, insight, and hope to anyone dealing with life’s vicissitudes.

Rights available: World, excluding English-language rights in Canada (Simon & Schuster) and US rights (Arcade/Skyhorse).

Category: Memoir    Length: 294 pp

Praise for The Long Hello:

“This [book] is an excellent addition to public and consumer health library collections because it is not the typical caregiver manual. VERDICT An intensely intimate, literary tribute to a loving relationship that offers a glimpse into the demented mind. VERDICT: An intensely intimate, literary tribute to a loving relationship that offers a glimpse into the demented mind.”

– Barbara Bibel, Library Journal

“The Long Hello should be in every library, long­ term care facility, and nursing home. It should be available to anyone who cares for someone with Alzheimer’s. It is easy to read – clear and short, meaningful and honest, written in beautiful lan­guage. The inevitable ending is managed with grace, love and respect.”

– Janet Hepburn, Literary Review of Canada

The Long Hello details [Borrie’s] bracing sense of discovery with a wonderment that’s hard to resist. . . . The book’s highly literary vision of disease is a powerful challenge to more detached clinical observations: Why do we overlook the beguiling language and memorable storytelling right in front of us simply because we’re so fixated on ideas of decline and disappearance? By approaching a parent’s Alzheimer’s in the spirit of hello rather than goodbye, Borrie is predisposed to pay attention – yet even then she’s astonished at the words that emerge from her mother’s mouth, almost as if aging could unlock the imagination and unleash a verbal force held back by logic and rationality.”

– John Allemang, The Globe and Mail

“A sparse yet deeply affecting, poetic story of love and devotion, The Long Hello is a memoir about caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s, a collection of conversations and memories revealing moments of clarity, absurdity, wisdom, and connection that pierce and heal the heart.”

– Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice

“Ordinary writers are able to describe the surface of things. Great writers take readers inside of the human experience in ways that can, and often do, bring life changing insights. Cathie Borrie is a great writer and her exploration of the life with Alzheimer’s is deep, rich, nuanced and soulful.”

– Dr. Bill Thomas, author of The Second Wind, and featured in “Alive Inside”


– Maya Angelou

“Immensely lyrical and moving . . . a powerful display of Cathie Borrie’s talent as a writer.”

– Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist

“Ebullient, feisty, vulnerable, and dumbstruck by the circumstances of her life, Cathie Borrie uses the magic lens of her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease to examine her role of dutiful daughter. With her theatrical sense of timing, her training as a nurse and her skill as a poet, Borrie writes a page-turner memoir of a whole family in The Long Hello: her brother’s tragic early death, her birth father’s alcoholism, her stepfather’s money and sense of duty, her mother’s lust for a life of her own as a housewife. With quick cuts and fast sentences Borrie snaps you up in a tale of a wicked boarding school, a vulnerable girl, a daughter’s identity emerging as a mother’s self fragments. Miraculously, Borrie both replicates her mother’s thinking and used it as a threshold into her own remembering. I read this book right straight through, with all the other things I had to do standing at attention for The Long Hello.”

– Molly Peacock, author of Paradise, Piece by Piece and The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72


Cathie Borrie is an author, speaker, and tireless advocate for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers. She trained as a nurse in her native city of Vancouver, and holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Ms Borrie also graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in law. In 2005, she obtained a Certificate in Creative Writing from Simon Fraser University. An accomplished ballroom dancer, she lives in Vancouver.

Follow Cathie on Twitter at: @CathieBorrie

Back to author index

Cathie Borrie