We meet Cassie just after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She decides to travel back home on the Indian Pacific, the same way she travelled to Sydney many years ago. As Cassie takes the journey back we are also taken back through her life as she tries to work out who she is and who she will become. We meet her family and the major events that shaped her life. A gentle story about memories and how we see ourselves through them.
Set in London, Saving Missy is about an elderly lady whose world has shrunk until she finds little pleasure in it. A series of encounters see her adopt a dog, which opens her up to community, and reflection on her life. It’s an uplifting story about kindness, acceptance, the uncomplicated love of dogs, and the power of community. For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and A Man Called Ove, Saving Missy doesn’t feel derivative, but is another hopeful, enjoyable read.
I don’t laugh out loud often when reading, but I do when I read David Sedaris. His essays aren’t all light, there’s a great deal that is dark or sad, weird, or even gross, but he is so refreshingly candid and warm that I raced through them all.
Nina Stibbe’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, are a lot of fun. Paradise Lodge is an old people’s home in an English village in the 1970s. Fifteen year old Lizzie Vogel starts to work there as she avoids school, and wants cash to buy nicer coffee and shampoo. It’s a wonderfully life-affirming story, full of lovable, eccentric characters, coming of age revelations, and deep connection and community.
Four and a half stars for this moving novel about the terrible mess people can make of their lives, and the power of redemption. Fred Lothian’s wife has died, and his two, adult children are largely lost to him as he sits in his retirement village apartment, full to the brim with what is left of his life. Reluctantly, he falls in with his neighbour, Jan, and while things certainly don’t become less complicated, Fred gradually makes changes to redeem what he can. It is funny and sad, disturbing and moving, and I loved it.
This is just the thing to read when you have been traipsing around English villages. It’s a sweet love story about an older widow, and a woman of Pakistani descent. It’s gently amusing, pleasantly predictable, and twee, in a good way.
I knew from the first page that this would be an entertaining read. The story about a group of residents from an aged facility undergoing a retrofit was both funny and sad. I was disappointed, though, with the investigative part of the story that was slow moving and did not involve much investigating – but I guess that is what you get with a cast of characters that are 90 years+.
Tom is not an ordinary person, he has a condition that makes him age very, very slowly. Through Tom Matt Haig explores what time and memory means to us humans. We are always thinking of the past or the future. Perhaps we should allow ourselves time to live in the moment, open ourselves up, and be willing to love — Cynthia
Imagine once you hit puberty, your ageing slowed, so that when you were over 400 years old, you looked around 40. How would you live, how would your memory work, what would be important to you? This is the situation for Tom Hazard, who has struggled for centuries to live with his past, and keep his secrets; knowing he mustn’t make connections, but keep moving on. Now, he questions the meaning of life, and what makes it worthwhile. It’s an imaginative story, full of historical detail, deep questions and sweet relationships — Amy
Our Souls at Night is a gentle and quietly beautiful book. Addie and Louis are neighbours, who find comfort, adventure and love together, late in life. It’s about small town life, how people are more than the facts of their lives and about choosing happiness.
Autumn is a little hard to explain. It’s the first of four, seasonal, ‘state of the nation’ novels. It’s about Britain, after Brexit, and how the western world is closing itself off from kindness and sharing. It’s about strong friendship, the transformative power of love, and about art. It’s clever, thought provoking, moving and sent me to Google to learn about Pauline Boty (British pop artist).