Nan Narboe’s 56 thoughtfully selected essays offer an intimate and lyrical account of aging through the decades.
Authors Judy Blume, Andrew McCarthy, Gloria Steinem, Donald Hall, David Shields, Ursula K. Le Guin and others draw from their own experiences, describing a specific decade’s losses and gains to form a complex and unflinching portrait of the years from nearing fifty to ninety and beyond.
In six sections, these detail-rich essays paint an accessible picture of nearing 50, the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, the 90s and beyond with equal parts humor and insight.
Drawing on seven decades worth of experiences, the selected essays offer a clear-eyed composition of narratives, each narrative as important as the one before it. In Paul Casey’s “Katie Couric Is No Friend of Mine,” a colonoscopy, not a red convertible, marks his initiation into mid-life. Germaine Koh, in “Thoughts on Aging,” is the oldest player in her roller derby league, confounded by her changing body. Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Dogs, Cats, and Dancers: Thoughts about Beauty” meditates on human self-consciousness–it is aging humans who find their bodies surprising. And in “Death,” Donald Hall rejects euphemisms: he’s not going to “pass away;” he’s going to die.
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