Five Best Books…about growing older

New novels in a Berlin Bookshop (Dussmann, das...

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As part of this week’s section on the “Five Best Books about growing older”, I struggled. I have never been one to read novels that are about “coming of age” but I did decide to take Cassandra Neace’s advice about the liberal application of the term “growing older” and looked through the bookshelves for books which I felt that represented a character or characters developing a sense of maturity through the novel.

5. The Shadow of the WindCarlos Ruiz Zafon

It was in last week’s list and it’s in this list again at the number five spot because it is one of the few novels that I own that happens to be a coming of age tale. It follows the life of Daniel who, as a child, is given his first taste of responsiblity when his father takes him to ‘The Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ and tells him that he must protect the book until he dies, never giving it away. The book follows him as he becomes obsessed with the book and its author through his teenage and adult years. It really is a thrilling novel, a book about books. There is a reason that I keep putting this book on the lists – because it is just so fantastic.

4. Prince of Mist – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The second book of Carlos Ruiz Zafon to be included in this list. This book isn’t so much about “coming of age” as it is about watching a child grow to accept themselves in the world. The Prince of Mist follows Max Carter and his friends as the two delve into the past of their area and soon discover a dark secret about Max’s home and the ‘Prince of Mist’. If you liked Prince of Mist, you’ll be pleased to know that Zafon has another book under the same genre called ‘The Midnight Palace’ due out in June 2011 and you can pre-order it now on Amazon.

3. Confessions of a Fallen Angel – Ronan O’Brien

Confessions of a Fallen Angel is a novel that sees the narrator suffer a near-death experience as a child and, as a result, he can now foresee the deaths of others around him. The novel follows the narrator as he goes through his adult life suffering from this curse and attempting to save those he loves. It is a troubling and haunting novel that gripped me from beginning to end. As Ronan O’Brien’s début novel, it was a beautiful novel that will forever remain with me – a novel that reminds me of the futility and mortality of life.

2. The Meaning of Night – Michael Cox

Michael Cox is a writer that some people will struggle with and others will take pleasure in. The novel follows the life of Edward Glyver, a fictional scholar who sets out to plot revenge against his rival, Phoebus Daunt, who has haunted him throughout his life. It is a winding, twisting and turning novel that never fails to surprise the reader but those moments of greatness, the revenge plot, the mysteries and the murder are often overlooked as Cox attempts to make the novel appear as a biography with footnotes and comments on events and actions. Deserving of praise, it’s no surprise that this novel was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award.

1. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan

The novel is, as the title states, about endurance, the power of love. It is, at the same time, a novel about maturity, about possession, obsession and its dangers. Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love is a classic. It haunts us after we’ve finished reading it because it’s possible that we could all fall into the trap that the protagonist falls into. It’s not a coming of age story. It is a story about maturity, about how the fragility of love can easily shatter into a thousand pieces what we like to think of our mature period in life.

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About ICaithness

Such is the nature of life that it is difficult to describe oneself, for the simple fear of complete subjectivity. I, for one, would propose that others look to my friends, companions and acquaintances for an analysis of my personality. Alas, I find that I must write something in order to inform my readers of my personality and my linguistic nature. In order to do that, I shall write as objectively as I can. There is little to be said for the sparse writing that I do on occasion, save that it often has a philosophical undertone and best represents the person that I am. Writing is, as was once seen, a beautiful and therapeutic method of examining the world. The words we create are mere 'mirrors to reflect the creations of Nature'. In essence, our hand creates that which reflects our life best. Philosophical though I may be, there is much more to me than pure complex and abstract thought. I am no more a philosophy than I am a man. It is only the presentation of said self that helps to create an identity, a face which represents life in all its glory.

Posted on March 31, 2011, in Literature, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Great list! This meme is causing an explosion in my TBR pile with all of these wonderful recomendations. Confessions of a Fallen Angel, in particular sounds like a must-read for me.

  2. I love this list! Please – always feel free to be a bit liberal with the topics. Part of the fun is in seeing how different people interpret them differently. I’m so glad you’re on board with this! Thanks for joining!

  3. I’ve read The Shadow of the Wind and my son has read The Prince of Mist. Great books!

    The others are new to me. Thanks for sharing this list.

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