This page has novels with elderly or aging characters.
Often, the narrative will show the effects of aging on a character, such as their physical and mental limitations and concerns, and how they are viewed by others.
Narratives with Aging or Elderly Characters
The Country of the Pointed Firs | Sarah Orne Jewett
A writer rents a home from Mrs. Todd in a small town on the coast of Maine. Mrs. Todd is an important member of the community, preparing and selling herbal remedies. The writer is told a story by Captain Littlepage, an old seaman, of a shipwreck he experienced. She meets other elderly residents who tell her stories of the past – theirs and the town’s.
The Red Pony | John Steinbeck
Jodi Tiflin is the son of Carl, boss of a ranch. While growing up, Jodi is given a pony, an old man who wants to die at the ranch stays overnight, and he sees the circle of life. His grandfather visits, and talks about his experience leading people across the plains.
Something Wicked This Way Comes | Ray Bradbury
Jim and Will are fourteen-years-old and best friends. While out walking, Jim thinks he can hear music , a store owner seems to be listening for something and, later, the barber smells cotton candy. They see a flyer advertising a carnival. Late at night they hear a train approaching, so they sneak out to watch but it’s unsettling – the crew sets up in silence and some things seem to be happening without any human effort. When they go to the carnival the next day everything looks normal. Their teacher gets frightened in the Mirror Maze; they boys witness increasingly bizarre events at the carnival.
The Stone Angel | Margaret Laurence
Hagar Shipley is ninety and living with her son, Marvin, and his wife. Marvin is planning to sell his mother’s house (he controls her affairs now) and move her into a nursing home. The narrative is a mixture of Hagar’s resistance to how her life is going in the present and memories of her early life and marriage.
Our Souls at Night | Kent Haruf
Addie Moore and Louis Waters are elderly neighbours in Colorado. They live alone; their spouses have died, and their children live some distance away. Addie visits Louis one day and asks him to sleep over for companionship, because the nights are lonely. He agrees and they get to know each other.
Quartet in Autumn | Barbara Pym
Four aging office workers–Marcia, Letty, Norman, and Edwin–are nearing retirement. They all have lives of varying degrees of solitude. Each has plans for retirement, but they encounter challenges adapting to a new routine.
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