Sunday, March 03, 2024

Seven books about older women who defy societal expectations

Andrea Carlisle is the author of a recently released collection of essays on aging, There Was an Old Woman: Reflections on the Second Coming of Age. She taught fiction and nonfiction for the Oregon Writers’ Workshop and other writing organizations in Oregon and Washington. Her work has been published in literary journals, newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and by independent presses. Her popular blog, Go Ask Alice ... When She’s 94, focused on her mother's aging, on the deep and often funny intergenerational exchanges between mother and daughter, and on caregiving.

At Electric Lit Carlisle tagged seven books "from around the world that take older women seriously," including:
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Although several voices are sprinkled throughout this novella, all center around their connection to Morayo Da Silva, who speaks for herself. As she is about to turn 75, Morayo remains a voracious reader, a life enthusiast, a friend to many, regardless of their generation, class or gender, a bit of a philosopher. A former literature professor, she shelves her books so they can be “in conversation with one another.” She’s curious about these imaginary meetings. She’s brilliant, playful, self-accepting, and delighted by her own eroticism at every age, including this one.

From the way she dresses to the way she moves through her San Francisco world and her former life in Nigeria, Morayo commands the reader to follow her. The challenges that come to her in this story are common to many who are older: a fall that brings the threat of immobility, dependence, losing driving privileges. Freedom of thought, movement, and connection with others are Morayo’s passions, and she uses all of her resources to try to meet what confronts her.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue