They have had full lives, jobs, families, affairs and have to face the limits and sometimes humiliations imposed upon them by health, circumstance and caregivers. They aren't r Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot is different from most books I read. The Idyll Inn is an expensive place to live. Philosophy and morality, character and motive create an absorbing plot. She has, passive-aggressively, not told her middle-aged daughter about the move. You have to grab onto life, take advantage of all it has to offer. Barfoot movingly explores the awful territory not only of death but of the loss that inevitably precedes it.
Each of the characters is nicely done with distinct traits and back story. Where 2005's Giller-nominated Luck used death as a springboard for the Barfootian unravelling of its characters' pasts, here the point of entry is more insidious. Canadian novelist Joan Barfoot puts them centre stage. The idea behind the book is great, some of the writing was very compelling, but unfortunately the characters tended to be stereotypes rather than real people. The plot, as such, was ok, but a few lose ends remained. Maybe it is my age 58 and the fact that my mother has been in a couple of retirement homes for respite, and an elderly aunt and uncle live in one. Will we ever come to the end of longing? This novel is set in a rather exclusive retirement home very specifically not a nursing home in a non-specified small town in Canada.
Here at the Idyll Inn people see each other, as best they can, without ghosts. I actually feel that I might have liked this book better if not for the timing. I found this part of the narrative less compelling than it was meant to be, and less surprising also. Of course in a small city like the one in which the Idyll Inn is placed, such connections abound. Her 2001 novel, Critical Injuries, was longlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2001 Trillium Book Award. This novel was released in hardcover by Random House on August 12, 2008.
The Winnipeg Free Press Next time you visit a seniors home, remember that not everything may be what it seems. Her foursome are beguiling: never less than individuals, never simply old folk. They're not really happy about it but they've come to that age and among health concerns and other things it's easier for them to move into this home where if they need it, care is available. We see characters who are fleshed out, passionate people behind the old-age camouflage of invisibility. Ruth Friedman is sure she'll come into contact with some from her Social Worker days, though probably not the children, she admits, but a former colleague, or an old board member.
She has always done what she wants, and knows how to talk to people to get her way or at the very least, intimidate them. How do we intend to grow old ourselves? Books in Canada First Novel Award, 1978. I'm all in favour of not letting our guard down with authority. She combines meaty issues with readable stories, without trivializing the issue. Running the show or so she thinks is priggish administrator Annabelle Walker, charged with keeping the residents happy, or at least as happy as is required to keep a tidy profit flowing to far-away investors. The Toronto Star A new nursing home welcomes residents who bring their own secrets and notions of living Emily Donaldson If Joan Barfoot is tired of playing bridesmaid to her fellow writers — she has been short- and long-listed for the Giller and Man Booker prizes, among others — then at least with this, her 11th novel, she can claim a patent to her own unique genre of writing.
But not all residents of the Idyll Inn choose to acquiesce. Sylvia, George, Greta and Ruth are at times tender, angry, hilarious and deeply flawed, but always utterly and captivatingly human. The four serniors who enter the Idyll Inn have no intention of going quietly. How do we treat the elderly in our lives? I think this novel is an inspiration to someone like me, who at 42, is eventually heading in that direction. In the wryly funny and wholly compassionate Exit Lines, acclaimed author Joan Barfoot once again treats her readers to an intimate encounter with some fascinating characters engaged in the fight of their lives. How do we intend to grow old ourselves? In her new book, Exit Lines, she deals, deftly and with good-humoured raillery, with a clutch of rebellious seniors, ensconced in a retirement home. She demands a room with a view and a balcony and i This novel is set in a rather exclusive retirement home very specifically not a nursing home in a non-specified small town in Canada.
Sylvia, George, Greta and Ruth are at times tender, angry, hilarious and deeply flawed, but always utterly and captivatingly human. Her across-the-hall neighbour is former shoe salesman George Hammond, who despite being wheelchair-bound from a recent stroke, has more in common with Sylvia than she can imagine. Just because people get old and we all will, that does not mean life is over-unless you want it that way. George is a stroke survivor and feels he has been unfairly parked at the Inn by his daughter. Paralyzed on one side, grieving and befuddled, he can muster speech only in unreliable spurts.
It also challenges them to examine their values and to look deeply within for guidance about what obligations friendship imposes. She was a hard worker in retail, first at a shoe store owned by fellow Idyll Inn resident George and later at a pharmacy. Barfoot's promise of dark comedy is fulfilled in heart-wrenching ways familiar to families dealing with elderly parents in care. For the characters Barfoot has drawn in George, Sylvia, Greta and Ruth, first and foremost, but also for the consideration of the problem of contemporary elderliness, which I've mentioned already. What remain are the mistakes and regrets, just themselves. Trust me, like many of Barfoot's characters, Sylvia, Ruth, Greta and George will stay with you.
In a town of only 40,000, paths re-cross in the uncertain shambling of old age, fragments of past lives are remembered or set aside, as circumstance dictates. How do we treat the elderly in our lives? They have had full lives, jobs, families, affairs and have to face the limits and sometimes humiliations imposed upon them by health, circumstance and caregivers. Wheelchair-confined George Hammond, once a handsome shoe store--owner with a stay-at-home wife and adored daughter, long ago cupped Sylvia's feet in his hands and admired her well-formed calves. To rue the past is to court defeat, although reasons for past mistakes may abound. Some of their earlier history is merey awkward, some downright uncomfortable.