I have been sifting through the New York Times and Washington Post and other best book lists for novels to include in my best of older adult fiction for 2019. By older adult fiction, I mean the the main character is of an advanced age going through the parallel university of dealing with life changing for them.
Without reading all of the titles , I can only point to a few that I know fall under this rubric. I know I only started this blog a few months ago, so my vantage point is somewhat limited. Focusing on fiction that would appeal or explore the experiences of older protagonists is still either a very fresh idea or futile as no one wants to now about aging. We shall see.
If someone reading a YA novel gets tired of the adolescence angst, there is surely a counterpoint in reading about older characters. Why? Because old age like everything else these days can be referred to as a spectrum. And it depends where you are on that line. Ashton Applewhite in her very worthy non fiction book, This Chair Rocks , talks about it like being in arena for a bullfight. Either you are up in the stands observing or you are down there fighting the bull and maybe people do not want to read about fighting the bull.
If some people know the main character is older, they will turn away to start with. No so with Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. Of course Olive Kitteridge was older even before we followed her through several more novels. There is that element of seeing how it all turns out, does she ever mellow out. The book is true to her character and a worthy read.
Of course there is The Testaments by Margaret Atwood the long awaited sequel. Aunt Lydia becomes the plotter and the revenge seeker. Again, we have seen much of her in The Handmaids Tale and it is on everyone list to see how she evolves to be the hero not the villain.
My favorite pick for 2019 is a novel translated in 2019 from Polish, Drive your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. The ‘old cron’ as she is referred to in the book has a vast complexity to her. The author paints a fascinating and dark edge to this old woman who lives in the woods. I was a fan of this work before its author won the Novel prize for literature (for an earlier book). There is braveness and starkness to the woman’s character that lingers in your memory.
Maybe as I continue my quest for good silver head heroes and heroines there will be more to share for 2020. Happy Reading to all!