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Reader! Reader!

Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Bailey

What a bittersweet little book!


The widowed Mrs Palfrey chooses to moved into the Claremont Hotel in London before her daughter can put her in a nursing home. The Claremont takes dinner, overnight, and live-in guests. The live-ins number fewer than 10. They feel rejected by their younger family members (many of whom do live far away), lonely, and miss their late spouses and friends terribly.


They also recognize the Claremont for what it is--a stopping point, as Mrs Arbuthnot puts it, on the way to a nursing home, where one dies. As much as they want to get out and do the things that London has to offer, they struggle with tiredness and pain, loneliness, and budgets. Even a short fun trip becomes exhausting.


This book well expresses the indignities of aging—the pain and exhaustion as your body gives out, the frustration of forgetfulness, and the feeling of rejection. But it also shows how the elderly do have something to share, and should not be given up on and rejected. After all, we all hope to be in their shoes one day.


**I admit that when I picked this up I thought "the Claremont" was "The Claremont Hotel". I was wrong.