At Eighty-Two: A Journal

May Sarton, Author
May Sarton, Author W. W. Norton & Company $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-03889-7
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-393-31622-3
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Poet, novelist, survivor and writer of journals, Sarton is back with a chronicle of 1993-1994, the year she turned 82. Newcomers to this series will be hypnotized by the progression of days as Sarton struggles to cope with life in a large Maine house. The winter is unusually harsh, the roof leaks, the garage door jams, the stairs are tiring. And if all that were not enough, she has a minor stroke. Lightening these burdens for a frail, ill woman are the friends, the frequently delivered flowers, the mail and not least Pierrot, the crotchety but so comforting cat. Sarton feels with keen despair the lack of recognition for her poetry by the literary establishment--a major anthology of 20th-century female poets published this year failed to include her--but she takes solace in affectionate letters from her readers all over the world. This journal takes us from the highs to the lows of old age: a visit from Susan Sherman, close friend and editor, is a joy; a session with biographer Margot Peters gives Sarton the chilling feeling that she is losing control of her own life. Finally, the discursive narrative comes together as a poignantly intimate portrait of a literary life. (Dec.)
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