The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty

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9780385313254: The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty

As a young woman, Carolyn Heilbrun made a resolution not to live past "three score years and ten." Taking her own life at the age of seventy, she reasoned, would lend clean closure to a life well lived, and would keep her from the many tragedies of aging--becoming a burden to her children, witnessing the deterioration of her body, falling prey to a crippling disease. But on the advent of her seventieth birthday, she looked back on the past ten years and found, to her surprise, that her sixties had been the happiest decade of all: after fifty years, her marriage had matured into a happy balance of companionship and respect for solitude; she had developed deep friendships with her grown children and a small circle of peers; she had mastered a highly successful career as a scholar and writer. In the poignant, essayistic writing that best showcases her elegant talent and provocative mind, Carolyn Heilbrun celebrates the many pleasures of a mature life.
Filled with wisdom, knowledge, wry humor, and literary allusion, The Last Gift of Time is a moving book for all women invested in the pursuit of leading a woman's life to its fullest capacity.

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Review:

Years ago Carolyn Heilbrun, a long-time feminist (Writing a Woman's Life) who also writes mysteries as Amanda Cross (The James Joyce Murder), decided to leave before age dragged her down by committing suicide at 70. Fortunately, she reneged, and chose instead to chronicle moments from her 60s. Always erudite, often deliciously wry, if sometimes pretentious, Heilbrun hits the mark more often than not in this book of essays. She speaks of "unmet friends" whose lives have paralleled her own and blessed deliverance from the academic bustle and backstabbing of Columbia University, the tyranny of memory, and foolish feminine clothes. Throughout, her sense of renewal is as welcome as her determination to go against the grain.

From the Back Cover:

"Like a letter to a friend, the kind you don't lie to . . . Heilbrun looks back on her 60's with buoyant pleasure."
--The New York Times Book Review

"THOUGHTFUL . . . OFTEN HUMOROUS . . . An eloquent look at life after 60 . . . Heilbrun's irrepressible humor and irreverence are among the first qualities noticed in The Last Gift of Time."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"HEILBRUN'S VOICE: HONEST, UNSENTIMENTAL, INTELLIGENT, WISE, RELEVANT. She is rigorous, she takes herself seriously, and that voice, at 70, is her reward."
--The Boston Globe

"READING CAROLYN HEILBRUN IS LIKE LISTENING TO MOZART. . . . In her wit and commitment to measured statement, she comes as near to the achievements of the 18th-century essayists as anyone writing today."
--Houston Chronicle

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Heilbrun, Carolyn G.
Published by The Dial Press 1997-03-10 (1997)
ISBN 10: 038531325X ISBN 13: 9780385313254
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