As We Are Now

As We Are Now

A Novel

Book - 1982
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So begins May Sarton's short, swift blow of a novel, about the powerlessness of the old and the rage it can bring. As We Are Now tells the story of Caroline Spencer, a 76-year-old retired schoolteacher, mentally strong but physically frail, who has been moved by relatives into a "home." Subjected to subtle humiliations and petty cruelties, sustained for too short a time by the love of another person, she fights back with all she has, and in a powerful climax wins a terrible victory.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, [1982].
ISBN: 9780393309577
Branch Call Number: SAR
Characteristics: 133 p.


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Mar 17, 2016

Although some critics limit Sarton's writings to the categories of feminist and lesbian, I think that isn't a fair assessment. In this novella of only 133 pages, she shines a light on the deplorable conditions of many nursing homes of the 1970s. The protagonist of the story has some resources - an earthy spirituality, journal writing, and love of classical music and books - which sustain her as she fights back. The prose is penetrating and accurate - to the point of seeming like reality, not fiction. Highly recommended, especially for senior citizens and members of a book club who enjoy an in-depth, spirited discussion.

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