Book Review: Lillian's Last Affair and Other Stories
After reading Sue Katz’ Lillian’s Last Affair and Other Stories (Consulting Adult Press, 2014), you’ll never again assume that you know what a “little old lady” is thinking or doing.
The characters in these stories, despite being 65+ in age, face situations that anyone may encounter, from gold-digging lotharios to neighbors who block shared hallways, plus challenges that come with age: ingrown toenails, chemo, widowhood, arthritis, and grandchildren you’re expected to devote yourself to, but which one character sees as “small people trying to climb up and colonize her.”
Katz’s characters are aware of class inequities, from how easy it can be for a rich woman to divorce a boring husband, to sympathy for the tough job of a driver given a lousy van to transport seniors.
These women aren’t simple-minded: as one says, “Life never gives you a chance to feel one pure emotion at a time.” One character’s annoyance at her partner’s habits vies with distaste or her own petty irritation. They may say “please” but think fuck you” when those in power patronize or ignore them. They value honesty (“there was plenty of chatter, mind you, just no candor”) and are not above engaging in power games.
They also often encounter unexpected lust: one gets “shivery and hot” at a mere pat on the hand. Being from a generation that rarely talks about experiences involving their “privates,” they can be surprised by who and what turns them on. The six stories manage to cover a variety of sexual proclivities, and the sexual scenes are wonderfully elliptical (“he zeroed straight to the most sensitive crevices”)
As a dance and exercise teacher as well as a wordsmith, Katz knows what seniors are capable of, and lets it all hang out in these six delicious these six delicious stories.