Cover image for Late-life love [large print] : a memoir / Susan Gubar.
Late-life love [large print] : a memoir / Susan Gubar.
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, [2019]

Physical Description:
479 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
305.2620973 GUB Large Print Book Large Print Collection

On Order



On Susan Gubar's seventieth birthday, she receives a beautiful ring from her husband. Contemplating their sustaining relationship, she considers how older lovers differ from their youthful counterparts ― and from ageist stereotypes. As her husband confronts age-related disabilities that effectively ground them, Susan dawdles over the logistics of moving to a more manageable place and starts seeking out literature on the changing seasons of desire. On the page and in life, she realizes that age cannot wither love. A memoir proving that the heart's passions have no expiration date, Late-Life Love rejoices in second chances.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

New York Times columnist Gubar (Reading and Writing Cancer) references literary works to present a probing discussion of aging in this bittersweet memoir. At 70 and in remission from ovarian cancer, Gubar and her 87-year-old husband, Don Gray (both retired English professors at Indiana University), grappled with the prospect of moving from their home of 21 years to a more manageable condo. Gray was recovering from a torn tendon caused by a fall as Gubar set out to gather and ponder literary works addressing late-life love. Her intriguing text moves organically between two overriding topics: the first being domestic and concerning practical issues that arise as the devoted couple faces health issues (a nicked bowel during ovarian cancer surgery left Gubar with an ostomy bag), as well as concerns about their four adult children, grandchildren, and aging friends. The second is how "autumnal romance" is portrayed in works by Samuel Beckett, Marilynn Robinson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and others. Though Gubar presents a sampling of thorny examples (for instance, Updike's "late-life lechery" in his third "Rabbit" novel), she also unearths many that offer views of aging love as deep and inspiring. Gubar's wise, honest, and frequently humorous work ("the Latin word for old woman is anus," she notes) reveals that even amid the inevitable struggles of old age, personal and conjugal reinvention is not only quite possible, but also quite possibly lovely-both in literature, and in life. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

LATE-LIFE LOVE: A Memoir, by Susan Gubar. (Norton, $25.95.) The influential literary critic blends tales of her marriage, her cancer treatments and her husband's age-related infirmities with discussions of works whose meaning has changed for her over time; her rereadings confirm her talents as a teacher. MORTAL REPUBLIC: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny, by Edward J. Watts. (Basic, $32.) By the second century B.C., the proud Roman Republic had been brought low by inequity, corruption and populist politicians. Since America's founders modeled it on the Roman example, Watts, a historian, warns that it behooves us to understand what went wrong over 2,000 years ago. MUHAMMAD: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires, by Juan Cole. (Nation, $28.) Cole offers an ambitiously revisionist picture of the father of Islam, replacing the idea of a militant leader with one of a peacemaker who wanted only to preach his monotheism freely and even sought "multicultural" harmony. INSURRECTO, by Gina Apostol. (Soho, $26.) Set in the Philippines, this novel raises provocative questions about history and hypocrisy as it follows two women with dueling modern-day film scripts about a colonial-era massacre. MY BROTHER'S HUSBAND: Volume 2, by Gengoroh Tagamé. Translated by Anne Ishii. (Pantheon, $25.95.) A sweet satire of Japan's taboo against gay marriage, this manga-style graphic novel is a sophisticated investigation into the nature of love, marriage, divorce, bereavement and nontraditional child-rearing. IN OUR MAD AND FURIOUS CITY, by Guy Gunaratne. (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, paper, $16.) Gunaratne's striking, Bookerlonglisted debut unfolds over a few restless days in a workingclass Northwest London suburb. Despite the rush of drama indicated by its title, the book should be read for its quieter details - Gunaratne, with a gift for characterization, presents the kinds of Londoners not often seen in contemporary fiction. THE DAY THE SUN DIED, by Yan Lianke. Translated by Carlos Rojas. (Grove, $26.) This brutal satirical novel takes place on a single night, when a plague of somnambulism unleashes a host of suppressed emotions among the inhabitants of a Chinese village. The ensuing chaos is promptly struck from the official record. TELL THEM OF BATTLES, KINGS, AND ELEPHANTS, by Mathias Énard. Translated by Charlotte Mandel. (New Directions, paper, $19.95.) In this intoxicating novel, set in 1506, Michelangelo sets up shop in Constantinople to design a bridge connecting Europe and Asia. SLEEP OF MEMORY, by Patrick Modiano. Translated by Mark Polizzotti. (Yale, $24.) The Nobel laureate's dreamlike novels summon elusive, half-forgotten episodes. Here, that means Paris in the '60s, love affairs, a flirtation with the occult and a shocking crime. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: