What is the most baffling period in our lives? Not childhood, not old age, but the decades of our 40s and 50s, the period now generously known as middle age. It's both an occasion for regret and an opportunity for coming to terms, the moment when we come up against our limits and discover, for better and worse, who we are.
My Life in the Middle Ages is a portrait of what that unnerving experience is like. A collection of unified pieces about the pleasures and pathos that attend the threshold of old age, it charts an original course between reportage and confession. Drawn from the author's own life, from the testimony of parents, children, teachers, and friends, from the books he's read and the life that he chose, and that chose him, My Life in the Middle Ages is a comic and poignant memoir that's both personal and generational.
Whether he is struggling with God (or trying to find out if he believes in one), celebrating the books he's loved and regretting those he'll never read, leafing through the snapshots in his family album and marveling at the passage of time, or parsing the fine points of success and failure, James Atlas is always alert to the surprises of everyday life.
At once pensive and funny, lighthearted and profound, My Life in the Middle Ages is a tale of survival, but also a meditation on how it feels to flourish, and how to live.
©2005 James Atlas; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.