"This is the thing, you see: I am on my way to being an old man. But at 60, I am still the youngest of old men."
As Ian Brown's 60th birthday loomed, every moment seemed to present a choice: confront or deny the biological fact that the end was now closer than the beginning. True, he was beginning to notice memory lapses, creaking knees, and a certain social invisibility - and yet it troubled him that many people think of 60 as "old", because he rarely felt older than he had at 40.
An award-winning writer, Brown instead chose to notice every moment, try to understand it, capture it...all without panicking. Sixty is the result: Brown's uncensored account of his 61st year and, informed by his reportorial gifts, his investigation of the many changes - physical, mental, and emotional - that come to all of us as we age.
Brown is a master of the seriocomic, and his day-to-day dramas - as a husband, father, brother, son, friend, and neighbor - are rendered, inseparably, with wistfulness and laugh-out-loud wit. He is also a discerning, prolific reader, and it is a pure pleasure being privy to his thoughts on the dozens of writers - including Virginia Woolf, Philip Larkin, AJ Liebling, Wislawa Szymborska, Clive James, Sharon Olds, and Karl Ove Knausgaard - who speak to him most at 60.
From an author on whom the telling detail is never lost, Sixty is a richly informative, candid report from the line between middle-aged and soon-to-be elderly. It perfectly captures the obsessions of a generation realizing that they are no longer young.
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Few Redeeming Qualities
- james j dixon