Literature of Exile: Palestine

Like the Kurds, to be a Palestinian is to grow up in exile, and with exile as a family heritage. During the Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948, "more than half of Palestine's native population, close to 800,000 people had been uprooted, 531 villages had been destroyed, and eleven urban neighborhoods emptied of their inhabitants (from … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Palestine

Literature of Exile: Somaliland and Nadif Mohamed

Do butterflies and moths suffer this perplexity? This ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘who am I?’ crisis? The Somali Civil War is poorly known or understood by many Westerners. After decades of colonialism, the British and Italian-controlled Somali territories united to form the independent Republic of Somalia in 1960. However, in 1988, the military … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Somaliland and Nadif Mohamed

What have I learned after a month with older women?

So that was August and this is my final post on the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative blog. I was invited by Karen Van Drie to explore older women in fiction around the world. I have published 25 posts altogether (including this one). Three were written by guests, and many of the book reviews were … Continue reading What have I learned after a month with older women?

A round up of your suggestions and mine

I asked for suggestions to include in any round up of older women in fiction around the world. I especially wanted translated fiction. Readers I asked and you answered. Here five in translation and ten altogether. Brilliant! Thank you. I will add these to the list on the page on my own blog: Bookword. About … Continue reading A round up of your suggestions and mine

Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin

One of the things I like about blogging is the potential for interaction offered through the internet. My guest on today’s blog post responded to my plea for contributions and suggestions especially from the Far East about older women in fiction. Barbara Witt offers us a preview of a post she will put on her … Continue reading Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin

Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood

This short novel is a fearsome portrait of a startling old woman. Great Granny Webster lives in Hove, Sussex, on the south coast of England. She inhabits a dark house, spending her time sitting upright in a chair, doing nothing. This has been her way of life for decades. What makes her live in this … Continue reading Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood

All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West

Sometimes it seems that everyone wants to tell older women how they should behave, what their role is, what their life is for. It seems that the experience of 60+ years of life is not expected to assist older women in managing their own lives. Fiction can challenge these expectations. Here is an older woman, … Continue reading All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

This is the third of my choices from the UK in the series featuring older women in fiction around the world. It is more recent than the previous selections, being published in 2014 and immediately it was winning prizes and topping charts. Maud is a very sympathetic figure, and presented with a great deal of … Continue reading Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

Claudia Hampton is 76 years old and approaching the end of her life. In fiction final days are serene, composed, moving calmly towards reconciliation and conclusion. Or it might be a gloomy time, full of regrets for those who will live on as well as for the dying. In Moon Tiger Penelope Lively gives us an … Continue reading Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

The first in my choice of older women in fiction around the world in the UK is Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor. Published in 1971, in this delightful novel Elizabeth Taylor does a great job of respecting older people and sympathetically revealing the challenges they face. She doesn’t lump all older people together, … Continue reading Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor