Authors:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

early childhood she had given her deepest trust, and which for half a century has suggested what she might do, think, feel, desire, and become, has suddenly fallen silent. Now, at last, all those books have no instructions for her, no demands—because she is just too old. In the world of classic British fiction, the one Vinnie knows best, almost the entire population is under fifty, or even under forty—as was true of the real world when the novel was invented. The few older people—especially women—who are allowed into a story are usually cast as relatives; and Vinnie is no one’s mother, daughter, or sister. People over fifty who aren’t relatives are pushed into minor parts, character parts, and are usually portrayed as comic, pathetic, or disagreeable. Occasionally one will appear in the role of tutor or guide to some young protagonist, but more often than not their advice and example are bad; their histories a warning rather than a model. In most novels it is taken for granted that people over fifty are as set in their ways as elderly apple trees, and as permanently shaped and scarred by the years they have weathered. The literary convention is that nothing major can happen to them except through subtraction. They may be struck by lightning or pruned by the hand of man; they may grow weak or hollow; their sparse fruit may become misshapen, spotted, or sourly crabbed. They may endure these changes nobly or meanly. But they cannot, even under the best of conditions, put out new growth or burst into lush and unexpected bloom. Even today there are disproportionately few older characters in fiction. The

Alison Lurie

Alison Lurie
Alison Lurie

Born: September 3, 1926

Profession: Novelist