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good fiction about 45-55 year old women?

(65 Posts)
marriedtothecat Fri 20-Sep-13 16:05:21

Hello there. Can anyone suggest some accessible women's fiction (not too heavy/literary) featuring a woman in her late forties/fifties? I feel that there's a gap between chick lit/stories about having babies etc, and the books aimed at the silver-haired generation.

AlisonClare Sat 21-Sep-13 11:25:41

Doesn't quite fit the bill - but 'The Parasites' by Daphne du Maurier might also be worth looking at. Mid life ennui/crisis amongst privileged siblings.

GerardButlersSecretLover Sat 21-Sep-13 11:30:58

84 Charing Cross Road fits into this.......... A middle aged lady corresponding with a man who works in a bookshop. Then the sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street!

DancingLady Sat 21-Sep-13 13:12:10

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud is fantastic. She's in her 40s, and not 'likeable' but a fascinating character.

Have you looked at the Persephone Books list? Lots of fantastic stuff on there.

Quangle Sat 21-Sep-13 20:57:40

gerardbutler v good suggestion re 84 Charing Cross Road and sequel. I love those books.

GerardButlersSecretLover Sat 21-Sep-13 21:08:13

Quangle I got an old copy which combined both books. Helene Hanff got to meet my idol Joyce Grenfell!
The film is fab too!

marriedtothecat Sun 22-Sep-13 16:58:19

Thanks again for these suggestions. I will look again at Anne Tyler and Anita Brookner, but I do agree with Quangle that some books people perceive to be for the 45-55 are often really about women in quite a different stage of life - ie they tend to depict single women trying to 'find themselves or escape dull marriages, not those still struggling to juggle jobs/teenage kids/aging parents etc..
I read THursdays in the Park, for example, but it was about someone in their sixties, with grandchildren. I'm nearly 50, but still have teenage children at home and certainly don't see myself as a grandmother any time soon, nor do I want to read about being one particularly!
anyway, all useful material.. thank you all!

AlansCatalanCat Mon 23-Sep-13 12:09:56

I don't care about the age or gender of characters in novels. As long as they're interesting and it's a good story well written, I couldn't give the proverbial whether the main character is an young girl, an old man, a middle-aged gay man or whatever.

Takver Tue 24-Sep-13 09:00:24

I was going to suggest the VI Warshawski novels by Sara Paretsky. I'm pretty sure she is in her mid - late 40s for most of the series. She's divorced with no children though, and her problems generally involve dead people / industrial espionage rather than aging parents/teenage kids grin.

Takver Tue 24-Sep-13 09:07:13

Just realised, the Diary of a Provincial Lady books might appeal - in the first one she would be about 40 and has young children, they grow up over the series.

Judyastley Wed 25-Sep-13 16:39:29

I've written 18 published contemporary novels (as Judy Astley - all available via Transworld publishers or Amazon) and I don't thing there's one of them that DOESN'T feature a woman from 45-55 as a main character (possibly not the first two of mine maybe, but then I was younger then!). Also, have a look at Fanny Blake and Elizabeth Buchan's books. Best wishes to all and happy reading.

Judyastley Wed 25-Sep-13 16:39:57

*think not *thing. Derrr.

MaddAddam Thu 26-Sep-13 22:24:58

Judy, I've enjoyed your books smile

Some Helen Simpson stories are about women of this age.

Also there's Deborah Moggach, Margaret Drabble, Barbara Kingsolver, I think they all write about women of this age, among others.

My latest favourite books about a woman of this age are The year of the Flood and Maddaddam (where my username is from) by Margarat Atwood - Toby is that age and she's the central character in both books, though she isn't juggling work and children or eldercare, she's busy coping with dystopia etc.

aoife24 Sun 29-Sep-13 18:57:11

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty. A middle-aged woman has an affair...

ScarerAndFuck Sun 29-Sep-13 20:10:53

Carol Shields book Happenstance is very good. It's actually two stories in one, both told over the same five days, one from the POV of the husband and the other from the POV of the wife.

It's set in the '70's in Chicago and Philadelphia and covers the trip Brenda Bowman makes to a craft convention, where one of her quilts is up for an award, and Jack is left at home to take care of their teenage children.

There's so much more to it, Jack feels like his time spent writing his novel has been wasted, Brenda feels like she is not being taken seriously as a woman or a person, they both have to make decisions about their marriage and it's just a very good book with very good characters.

I second Apple Tree Yard. It's the book I came on to recommend. One to make you think.

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 30-Sep-13 16:41:35

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 30-Sep-13 16:57:12

What about the Vera Stanhope detective series by Ann Cleeves? I have not read any of them (on my to read list) but I have read her Shetland series which I really enjoyed.

bunnybing Mon 30-Sep-13 22:18:49

Carol Shield's Unless is v good - one of the best books ever imo. Patrick Gale's books usually feature a cast of characters including middle-aged women

NoComet Mon 30-Sep-13 22:25:43

As a 45y woman, I can assure you it would be unspeakably dull.

Dumpylump Mon 30-Sep-13 22:29:57

I recently read "Life, Death and Vanilla Slices" by Jenny Eclair, and really enjoyed it. It wasn't what I'd expected at all.

ModeratelyObvious Mon 30-Sep-13 22:31:23

The mother in We Need To Talk About Kevin
Brittle Joys, Sara Maitland
Early 40s but Isabel Dalhousie

NotCitrus Mon 30-Sep-13 22:59:30

Christopher Brookmyre's All fun and games until ...
Also various of his other novels, though not as the protagonist.

racingheart Mon 30-Sep-13 23:15:24

The Making of her by Susie Nott Bower - about a woman aged 50 iirc who goes up for one of those TV makeover programmes.

MotherOfSoupDragon Mon 07-Oct-13 17:53:43

Love Jenny Eclair's books. Also enjoyed many of Judy Astley's.

ireadnovels Mon 07-Oct-13 19:55:57

Amanda Prowse novels appeal to all woman of all ages. Clovers Child by Amanda Prowse and What have I done by Amanda Prowse. Yew Tree Gardens by Anna Jacobs is another author who is adored by so many readers of all ages. I am 50 and love Amanda Prowse and Anna Jacobs novels.

tumbletumble Fri 11-Oct-13 18:43:15

Have you tried Joanna Trollope? I think Second Honeymoon, Best of Friends, The Other Family or The Rector's Wife might fit the bill.

Also How to be Good by Nick Hornby.

I was also going to say Back When We Were Grownups but I see several people have already suggested Anne Tyler.

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