The Ninth Decade

An Octogenarian’s Chronicle

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Pub Date 15 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2021
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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Description

AGING / MEMOIR

The Ninth Decade is a path-breaking and timely book on aging: the first to focus explicitly and at length on eighty-somethings, the fastest-growing demographic in the industrialized world. Covering eight years in lively six-month installments, Klaus tells a vivid story not only of his own ninth decade and survival routines, but also of his loving companion, Jackie, who is strikingly different from him in her physical well-being, practical outlook, sociable temperament, and vigorous workouts. Cameos of their octogenarian friends and relatives near and far add to a wide-ranging and revelatory portrayal of advanced aging, as do bios of notable octogenarians.

The multi-year scope of his chronicle reveals the numerous physical and mental problems that arise during octogenarian life and how eighty-year-olds have dealt with those challenges. The Ninth Decade is a unique, first-hand source of information for anyone in their sixties, seventies, or eighties, as well as for persons devoted to care of the aged. Though the challenges of octogenarian life often require specialized care, The Ninth Decade also shows the pleasures of it to be so special as to have inspired Lillian Hellman’s paradoxical description of “longer life” as “the happy problem of our time.”
 

AGING / MEMOIR

The Ninth Decade is a path-breaking and timely book on aging: the first to focus explicitly and at length on eighty-somethings, the fastest-growing demographic in the industrialized...


Advance Praise

“Carl Klaus, to whom all American essayists should be indebted for his ruminations on the form, has blessed us with a scouting report of what lies ahead for those lucky enough to make it to our eighties—in prose that is intimate, warm, impeccably honest, flavorful, and attentive to the minute surprises of daily life.”—Phillip Lopate, editor, The Glorious American Essay: One Hundred Essays from Colonial Times to the Present

“An intimate yet hands-on lesson on how to face the inevitable infirmities and losses of our eighties with grace, resilience, and composure. In place of the usual stoical bromides, these contemplative journals offer a different, more constructive message: the key to a satisfying old age may be simply a matter of learning to maintain the enthusiasms that have long sustained us. The Ninth Decade is a major contribution to the growing literature of aging.”—Robert Atwan, editor, The Best American Essays

“As one by one, beloved friends and family members meet their demise, Carl Klaus perseveres, as he must, his acute mind making as much sense as can be made of each challenge and loss while savoring life’s remaining pleasures. With this honest account, he ensures that our own journey through old age will be a little less daunting and a little more conscious, principled, and fulfilling.”—Julene Bair, author, The Ogallala Road: A Story of Love, Family, and the Fight to Keep the Great Plains from Running Dry

“An eminent scholar of the essay, Carl Klaus is also a fine practitioner of this versatile art form, as he demonstrates once more in these reflections on old age. Facing bodily ailments, quirks of memory, and funerals of friends, he writes with verve and wisdom about life’s final phase.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author, The Way of Imagination

“In The Ninth Decade, Carl Klaus gives the reader an insightful look into what it means to age in place and deal with the challenges of life in one’s eighties—from medical issues, to housing, to relationships, to finances, to planning for major transitions. With courage, wisdom, and a huge dose of realism, Klaus shows us what it means to be an active, involved, elder. A comforting read from a master of creative nonfiction.”—Mary Swander, author, The Maverick M.D. 

“Carl Klaus, to whom all American essayists should be indebted for his ruminations on the form, has blessed us with a scouting report of what lies ahead for those lucky enough to make it to our...


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ISBN 9781609387860
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Featured Reviews

This is a little different than anything I've read. Klaus writes well, and of course is increasingly relevant since society is generally living longer. It's interesting hearing about others' experiences and maybe what kinds of things to expect at that age. Thanks very much for the free ARC for review!!

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Eye opening look at life in the authors ninth decade.He shares his and his companions experiences as they grow older.Jackie continues working well into her eighties and enjoys life with the spirit and energy of someone much younger.The author who suffers at times with health problems shares with us his daily life his worries even the issue of whether to stay in his large family home or move into a place easier to keep up. This is a future all of us will deal with if we reach our eighties and the authors revealing the ups and downs of being elderly were. So honest so open,I was very interested in his story and found myself hoping all is we L with them.#netgalley#uof iowa

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