In this journal of her 66th year (one of several volumes of her widely-read journals) May Sarton reflects on the depression of losing a long, intimate friend to acute senility, on living with waves of loneliness in a life of chosen and beneficent solitude, and on a mastectomy which followed quickly upon diagnosis. She weaves together themes of friendship, especially friendship among women, mental and physical health, speculating on psychosomatic dimensions of illness, living with an aging body, and the ongoing issues of self-esteem that aging and solitary women confront in a particular way. Each of the 2-3 page entries is a complete and complex reflection, beautifully developed, and often pithy and poetic.


Sarton is one of a select company of women whose journals have been recognized as literature in the best sense. Although the range of topics and moods varies widely, the voice that unites these short meditations on daily life, solitude, pain, illness, joy, and loss has the unmistakable authority of a woman who has led the examined life Socrates defined as the mark of the wise. She is widely quoted because so many of her sentences are complete insights in themselves, worth extracting and pondering.

To read her is to quiet the mind and at the same time to take a new look at the ordinary ills that flesh is heir to. Most appropriate perhaps for mature adults, women, and those confronting the issues of slow recovery--the tedium, restlessness and loneliness that attract less sympathy than trauma sometimes, but are often just as physically and spiritually demanding as more dramatic episodes of suffering.


W. W. Norton

Place Published

New York