Monthly Archives: April 2022

Women Growing Old

April is my birthday month and as T. S Eliot says

April is the cruellest month,

Breeding lilacs out of the dead land,

Mixing memory and desire….

I can’t add, as he does, ‘stirring dull roots with spring rain’, because April is autumn here and the leaves are falling, but whenever these anniversaries occur, I tend to reflect on my life. How many more birthdays will I see, how long will I remain strong and energetic? It is useful to think upon these matters, for, as Marcus Aurelius said, ‘We are all creatures of a day.’ It was for this reason I took on my self-appointed task for this month; reading inspiring books by or about old women. Could I learn something that would assist me to grow older with wisdom? Continue reading Women Growing Old

Alive, Alive, Oh!: And Other Things That Matter : Diana Athill

I am finding my project of reading books by or about very old women rather dispiriting. Why am I surprised that a major concern seems to be being put away in a nursing home by families who have had enough? I am able to assure you, though, this seems to happen after one reaches the ninety mark; able bodied women in the seventies and eighties seem to be able to be independent for the time being. But so far three of the books I have read have a common thread; the old female protagonist runs away from home in an attempt to remain free. Although this is usually doomed to failure due to their debility. Continue reading Alive, Alive, Oh!: And Other Things That Matter : Diana Athill

Margaret Laurence : The Stone Angel

My project for April, to read eight (or more) books by or about very old women is off to a roaring start with The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. I am ashamed to say that while I have read a few Canadian authors, Carol Shields, Robertson Davies, Emily St John Mandel and Margaret Atwood, I had not heard of Margaret Laurence. I now discover she is a superb writer, up there with the truly greats, awarded honours in Canada with university departments named after her, and an essential  early member of an emerging Canadian literature tradition. Continue reading Margaret Laurence : The Stone Angel