A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America

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9780143115304: A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America
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An "affectionate, touchingly empathetic" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times) look at old age in America today Welcome to Canterbury Tower , an apartment building in Florida, where the residents are busy with friendships, love, sex, money, and gossip-and the average age is eightysix. Journalist Dudley Clendinen's mother moved to Canterbury in 1994, planning-like most the inhabitants-to spend her final years there. But life was not over yet for the feisty southern matron. There, she and her eccentric new friends lived out a soap opera of dignity, nerve, and humor otherwise known as the New Old Age. A Place Called Canterbury is both a journalist's account of the last years of the Greatest Generation and a son's rueful memoir of his mother. Entertaining and unsparing, it is essential reading for anyone with aging parents, and those wondering what their own old age might look like.

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About the Author:

Dudley Clendinen was a journalist and editorial reporter for The New York Times. He is an author, lecturer, and widely anthologized essayist.

From Publishers Weekly:

Former New York Times reporter Clendinen tells how he persuaded his frail mother to sell her house and move to Canterbury Tower in Florida, a geriatric apartment building where many of her friends already lived. With caring staff, a swimming pool, spacious apartments and cocktail parties, the place seemed almost idyllic, and Mother (as the author refers to her) spent her first four years there in a whirl of social activities. But in 1998, the 83-year-old suffered a stroke and eventually moves into the nursing wing, finally succumbing in early 2007. Around this central narrative, Clendinen spins other stories and observations about the lifestyles of the new old age. He also describes how his mother's old friends ignored her completely when she was wheeled into the apartment tower for a cabaret after her stroke and his painful decision to withdraw her medications. Overall, Clendinen offers a mixed bag, with some stories coming across as poignant and others depressing, in need of some larger meaning—which could have been found, perhaps, in either Clendinen's own alluded-to midlife crisis or a more robust discussion of senior care. (May)
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