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A Curious Earth

by Gerard Woodward

I loved this story. It’s a beautifully written, wryly observed and compassionate meditation on ageing and loneliness. After a brush with death 70 year old Aldous, widower and ex-art teacher, discovers a new lust for life and sets out to find someone to share his passions. Unfortunately his relationships with his children and new friends are coloured by a nip or three of whisky.
This is an irreverent tale of the absurdities and tedium of day to day living. It gives a real feel for the ennui of a life without purpose, and that freshness, zest and drive that sometimes comes after illness. I also found that the fine line teetering between humour and farce matched my taste perfectly.

Extract

With a rasp and slurp his false teeth were out of his head and snatched away by the wind, uppers and lowers both. He made a grab at them but far too late. For what seemed like an hour, they hung in mid-air in front of him, glittering, whiplashing strings of spittle dangling, from them. They had rotated to face him, still in their pairing, smiling at him out of the sky, a grin without a face, receding, laughing at him, until they'd shrunk to two little white dots, enough to make (so he imagined), a visible splash as they entered the sea a hundred feet below and a quarter of mile behind him.

Parallels

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
Time after Time by Molly Keane
 

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