Jane Campbell is a wonder! It's her clear-eyed vision, rendered in prose as crisp as bone china, that had me rapt. This book flings open a heretofore shuttered window, giving us an invigoratingly fresh and absolutely essential view of the psychology and emotions and appetites of aging women. Jane Campbell, where have you been? We've needed you for a very, very long time.
Jane Campbell's Cat Brushing is the debut of the decade, an eighty year old woman laying out the physical and spiritual struggle of life at its very end. I was haunted by these stories of older women falling, having strokes, dying--subjects often flattened into sentimentality--but in Campbell's hands made both elegant and transgressive. We are striving creatures of intense desire, Campbell insists, until we are not.
I loved these fresh, wry, strange stories; by turns moving and unnerving, they disturb expectations of the longings, loves and ambitions of older women.
In thirteen revivifying stories, thirteen candid, empathic portraits of aging women for whom desire yet smolders, Campbell proves aging is a complex sport. Some mental agility is required, some wit and wisdom. Befuddlement and remorse are a part of play, too, but the stories offer the solace of shared experience and company.
Stepping into these stories by Jane Campbell feels like opening a door back into the world. The thrust of life, of longing and regret, of contempt and forgiveness, it's all here in such vivid, delicious phrasing. She reads like Eudora Welty's wicked British cousin, a lot of fun.
Cat Brushing is a fierce and fascinating debut. I loved these women who have taken off their gloves to fight life with their bare hands.
I laughed out loud in joy and admiration so many times in this original, surprising book. Cat Brushing is about aging, about sex, about the weirdness of technology, and about womanhood - these stories felt both deeply familiar to me and far too absent from many of our culture's stories. Jane Campbell is a refreshing, compelling new voice.
Sensual, spiky, tender and utterly original short stories about the desire of women in their seventies and older.
Cat Brushing offers a much-needed fresh perspective on the diverse realities of ageing.
An illuminating, funny and tender collection that affirms wisdom and experience as the basis for great storytelling
It's not every day . . . that you encounter a debut as fresh, assured and fun as Jane Campbell's . . . Though her stories are frequently explicit enough to bring colour to your cheeks, Campbell maintains a cool, commanding tone that enhances the effect of her limpid prose . . . The stories are varied in approach without being showy about it, and consistently draw novel insight from a few major themes: aging, sexuality, memory, loneliness. Her work merits comparison with that of Edna O'Brien or Muriel Spark, while an uncanny streak running through several of the pieces . . . might bring Daphne du Maurier to mind.
Sensuous, strange and utterly original.