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12 of the Best Novels About Aging and End of Life

4. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

This book about a 79-year-old woman who decides to rob a bank along with four of her friends may fall a little into the “feisty old woman” trope, but it does sound like a fun ride. Feeling constrained by the rules imposed on them by their care home, the group of friends makes a plan to fund the exciting life of their dreams–and stand up for other residents who feel similarly constrained. I expect this book to offer plenty of laughs, but it also speaks to the limited lives that elderly are often relegated to–and to their desire to continue to be relevant and sometimes even adventurous. Read More.
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5. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Abby and her husband Red are spending another lovely evening on the porch of their family home, telling their familiar love story to their children and grandchildren. But this time is different: Abby and Red are aging, and the family must start to decide how they’ll be cared for in their old age, as well as what will happen to the home built by Red’s father. This book promises to be reflective of lives well-lived and tinged with sadness as the family must face the inevitable difficult decisions and coming losses. Read More.
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6. The Night Guest: A Novel by Fiona McFarlane

Ruth is a widow living alone in an isolated beach house, and one day Frida shows up claiming to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in, and suddenly she begins to question her own perceptions, her memories, and whether Frida can be trusted. I chose this book because it seems to speak to the vulnerability of some elderly people to be preyed upon, particularly if they are isolated. Read More.
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