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.
About the author
Sharon Butala is the author of nineteen books of fiction and nonfiction, numerous essays and articles, some poetry and five produced plays. She published her first novel in 1984, Country Of The Heart, which was nominated for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, followed closely by a collection of short stories, Queen of the Headaches. She was born in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan, she taught English in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. She eventually returned to Saskatoon, before moving near Eastend, Saskatchewan, to live on her husband, Peter Butala’s ranch. Sharon’s books have been on the Canadian bestseller lists, including her memoir, The Perfection Of The Morning, which reached #1 in July 1994 and remained on the list for over a year. Most recently, Wild Rose was also on the bestseller lists. Sharon has read all over Canada and in the United States as well as in Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Ireland. She has been a guest at nearly every literary festival in Canada and some US festivals, as well as teaching literally dozens of writing workshops. Sharon has been a guest at the “Geography of Hope” conference on Wallace Stegner, at Point Reyes Station, California. She has also been a guest speaker at Speak to the Wild: a multi-disciplinary gathering dedicated to the politics and poetics of wilderness, at Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC. She is also in demand as a lecturer, having spoken recently at the Edmonton Jung Forum, the Banff Centre for the Arts Book Discussion Weekend, the “Books ‘n’ Brunch” series in Toronto, the UBC and Hollyhock’s “Summer Speakers’ Series” in Vancouver, the Vancouver Institute, and was a keynote speaker at the narratology conference at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, among other engagements. Sharon has also been a keynote speaker at the International Grasslands conference and delivered the inaugural annual lecture at University of Saskatchewan Creative Writing program.
"A timely manifesto about old age, which Sharon Butala shows us is far more interesting than is commonly understood. Butala is a talented and original author who writes with lyric grace and a tantalizing touch of mysticism." - Susan Swan, author of The Dead Celebrities Club
"Sharon Butala understands our never-ending need for control of our lives. She shows us how that need becomes more pressing when we're under attack - and then with characteristic verve she defends us. I love how forthright, personal and thoughtful Butala is in her essays. It's a pleasure to think alongside her. I cheered, argued, learned, admired." - Connie Gault, author of A Beauty
"The insight embodied in this book doesn't come free with age, but as the payoff for decades of fine attention, of impassioned curiosity. What good fortune that Sharon Butala commands an artistry capable of delivering this incredible bounty to us. There's a candour and authenticity here of which one only hopes to be worthy." - John Gould, author of The End of Me
Other titles by Sharon Butala
Season of Fury and Wonder
Where I Live Now
A Journey through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope
An Anthology of Essays
The Look Book
Spring 2017 Sampler
Mermaid In The Watery Deep
The Metric System