Wished-for and Unwished-for Identities
Edited By Flocel Sabaté
Alternative futures: Ageing and Identity in Contemporary Women’s Writing
“I must learn to grow old before I die”1.
The statement forming the epigraph to this paper2 is made by Candida Wilson, a woman in her sixties, in Margaret Drabble’s 2002 novel, The Seven Sisters. This is a complex novel with an evasive narrative structure that is based upon lies and omissions. Ostensibly the tale of the retracing of the steps of Aeneas in The Aeneid, mapping also a journey of self-discovery for the newly divorced Candida, this is actually a novel in which this bald statement is perhaps the only lesson. Candida does not gain wisdom, find a new romance, or effect some sort of spiritual growth. She realises only that she must learn how to grow old.
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