Full Measure: Modern Short Stories on Aging

Dorothy Sennett, Author, Carol Bly, Foreword by Graywolf Press $12 (399p) ISBN 978-1-55597-105-2
This stellar omnibus features a cast of seasoned characters, rich in experience if not always in virtue, who struggle to retain their humanity in the face of the physical and mental deterioration that is the universal fear of the aging. In Carol Bly's ``Gunnar's Sword,'' the indomitable Harriet White refuses an offer to live with her son because ``he was not giving her the profoundly felt invitationwhich would be an invitation to live with him and Evelyn when she might be incontinent, irritable, afraid, or even demented.'' Full Measure also tackles sex and desire. Asa Bascomb, the late John Cheever's expatriate, much-honored laureate in ``The World of Apples,'' is confounded by an incomprehensible wave of erotic feeling that compels him to spend his days writing pornography and feeding the obscene pages into the fire. The overwhelming attachment that the elderly feel for their homes finds expression in Saul Bellow's ``Leaving the Yellow House.'' And Stanley Ellin's ``The Blessington Method'' is a farcical but disquieting vision of euthanasia turned murder as a shadowy, powerful organization provides a service for young people by killing the elderly in their charge. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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