This Strange Visible Air

By Sharon Butala

This Strange Visible Air
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A collection of essays on women and aging from Canadian legend Sharon Butala

"What I didn't have a clue about was that I was soon to be old, or what being old would mean to my dreams and desires. While dreading old age with every fibre, I was at the same time in full denial that ... Read more


Overview

A collection of essays on women and aging from Canadian legend Sharon Butala

"What I didn't have a clue about was that I was soon to be old, or what being old would mean to my dreams and desires. While dreading old age with every fibre, I was at the same time in full denial that it would ever happen to me, and so, was shocked down to the soles of my feet when it did. "

In this incisive collection, Sharon Butala reflects on the ways her life has changed as she's grown old. She knows that society fails the elderly massively, and so she tackles ageism and loneliness, friendship and companionship. She writes with pointed wit and acerbic humour about dinner parties and health challenges and forgetfulness and complicated family relationships and the pandemic -- and lettuce. And she tells her story with the tremendous skill and beauty of a writer who has masterfully honed her craft over the course of her storied four-decade career.

Butala gives us a book to be cherished -- an elegant and expansive look at the complexities and desires of aging and the aged, standing in stark contrast to the stereotyped, simplistic portrayals of the elderly in our culture. This Strange Visible Air is a true gift.

Sharon Butala

Sharon Butala is an award-winning author of more than twenty books, numerous articles and essays, poetry, and five published plays. She has three times been a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, and is a recipient of the Marian Engel Award, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the Cheryl and Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence, and the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. In 2002 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada. She lives in Calgary.

Reviews

Praise for Sharon Butala

"[Butala] addresses head-on the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges of aging women. The protagonists in these stories to not just rage against the dying of the light; they grab it by the throat, forcing the reader to confront uncomfortable and revelatory truth concerning what it is to age in a female body . . . Poetic, flawless, and unflinching. " - 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Jury

"This is what we have come to expect from Sharon Butala. An articulation of love, hard and true and honest. A consistent attempt to probe and comprehend the life and land around her, the mystery of spirit, of nature, the meaning of grief. I was moved to tears by Butala's strong, sure voice. " - Frances Itani

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