ISBN-10: 0802160026
ISBN-13: 9780802160027
Publisher: Grove Press
Publish Date: 08/16/2022
Dimensions: 8.30" L, 5.50" W, 1.20" H

Cat Brushing


Price: $26.00


A rousing and original debut story collection that probes the erotic, emotional, and intellectual lives of elder women, CAT BRUSHING will be published in the author’s 80th year.

CAT BRUSHING, the provocative debut by Jane Campbell, vigorously explores the sensual worlds of thirteen older women, unearthing their passions, libidinal appetites, integrity, and sense of self as they fight against prevalent misconceptions and stereotypes of the aging.

Written in spikey, incisive prose, this alluring cast of characters overcomes the notion that elder women’s behavior must be in some way monitored and controlled. Susan falls in love with her beautiful young caregiver Miffy, and embarks on an intense emotional relationship within the confines of her nursing home. Linda seeks out her former lover, Malik, despite having left him years ago to return to her settled marriage to Bill. Daisy, who, by a curious stroke of fate, finds herself at the funeral of her former boyfriend, Tim, relives their early life together, his betrayal of her and the anguish of that time. Martha, mourning her small dog whom she believes has been killed by the home care staff, works out how to manage a robot designed to record her behavior, and get her revenge. And the narrator of the title story, “Cat Brushing,” communes with her elegant, soft Siamese, reflecting on the sexual pleasures of her past.

The timeless wisdom and dark wit of debut writer Jane Campbell inspires and challenges, shocks and comforts as she examines the inner lives of women who fight to lead the rest of their lives on their own terms.

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A New York Times Editors' Choice

"It's not every day you come across an octogenarian's literary debut, and it's not every day – or every year – that you encounter a debut as fresh, assured and fun as Jane Campbell's Cat Brushing from a writer of any age...[An] excellent, pathbreaking collection." – New York Times

"A no-holds-barred collection of 13 dirty, doughty and often wickedly funny stories...Jane Campbell's commanding voice – and wise insights about female empowerment, about embracing one's twilight years and about feeling seen no matter how old you are – is one damn well worth listening to." – San Francisco Chronicle

"Challenging the stereotypical narrative of older women as weak or feeble, Campbell, an octogenarian herself, gives life to 13 women in stories centering on their passions, libidos and sense of self. Denying that invisibility arrives with wrinkles, these women experience a range of emotion – joy, heartbreak, trauma, regret and satisfaction – while living the lives they want on their own terms." – Washington Post

"If you would expect an 80-year-old, first-time author's story collection to be mild and nostalgic, think again. In this trail-blazing, provocative-in-the-best-way volume, Campbell upends expectations." – Oprah Daily, 16 Books Not to Miss This Fall

"Strikingly original... These are characters rarely focused on in fiction, variously mischievous, wistful and unabashedly sensual. Campbell, 80, opens a much-needed portal into how it feels to approach life's end." – People Magazine

"A salient, imaginative view of the landscape of old age." – Independent

"Well-heeled, silvery-haired and clever, the heroines of these 13 refreshingly spiky stories from octogenarian author Jane Campbell are facing up to their futures and reliving their pasts. Once controlled, elegant and charming, they now are wryly attempting to take a new stance." – Daily Mail

"An exploration of libido, passions, and how older women maintain their sense of self as they fight against stereotypes of what it means to be an older woman." – Toronto Star, Best Books of Summer 2022

"Campbell debuts at 80 with an accomplished collection centering the emotional and psychological lives of the elderly, delivering astute observations and sharp critiques, and restoring agency to characters who are routinely robbed of it...Ripe with sensuality, this is full of vivid portraits." – Publishers Weekly

"[Cat Brushing] maintains a thorough sense of originality while delivering a stunning range of works on the inner lives of older women... The baker's dozen of tales that make up Cat Brushing are all delivered through lean, incisive, witty prose that calls to mind the calculated directness of Ernest Hemingway and the furious expressiveness of Joyce Carol Oates... Within these women's stories of loss, desire, pain and memory, we discover the feeling of holding onto something primal even as the world seems determined to forget that side of us. To capture such complexity in one story is powerful, but for Jane Campbell to do so 13 times makes Cat Brushing one of the most compelling fiction collections you'll find this year." – Bookpage, starred review

"This first collection plumbs the lives, longings, and ongoing intellectual turmoil of older women in language that's light but tart and penetrating... A charming and incisive study of women in late life that will be revelatory to all readers." – Library Journal, starred review

"Octogenarian Jane Campbell may be "new" to the publishing industry, but her first book, Cat Brushing, is refreshingly accomplished. The 13 exquisitely drawn short stories in the collection are woven with wit and bold enlightenment. Each meticulously crafted gem focuses on the lives of aging women who grapple with their shrinking places in the world while coming to terms with feelings and failings, choices and losses...Aspects of regret, mourning, fantasies and lost love infuse these eloquently rendered, skillfully plotted stories that pack a wallop....In Campbell's wholly original, late-in-life stories, the limitations compelled by age become surprising sources of wisdom and empowered liberation." – Shelf Awareness

"In these debut stories, whose author is 80, growing old isn't for the faint of heart...An affecting collection about the many indignities of being old." – Kirkus Reviews

"Campbell's writing is intimate and enveloping, and while main characters may share commonalities, their stories are quite eclectic. The rare perspective of Campbell's collection makes this a breath of fresh air." – Booklist

"Stepping into these stories by Jane Campbell feels like opening a door back into the world. The thrust of life, of longing and regret, of contempt and forgiveness, it's all here in such vivid, delicious phrasing. She reads like Eudora Welty's wicked British cousin, a lot of fun." – John Freeman, editor of The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story

"'...Anything between my legs is welcome these days, ' says the narrator with a warm cat on her lap in the title story of Jane Campbell's terrific debut fiction Cat Brushing. In thirteen revivifying stories, thirteen candid, empathic portraits of aging women for whom desire yet smolders, Campbell proves aging is a complex sport. Some mental agility is required, some wit and wisdom. Befuddlement and remorse are a part of play, too, but the stories offer the solace of shared experience and company." – Christine Schutt, author of Pure Hollywood

"Cat Brushing is a fierce and fascinating debut. I loved these women who have taken off their gloves to fight life with their bare hands." -Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers

"Jane Campbell is a wonder! Much will be made of the fact that the author is publishing her debut at the age of eighty, and that she is writing about the often transgressive sexual lives of older women. But it's her clear-eyed vision, rendered in prose as crisp as bone china, that had me rapt. This book flings open a heretofore shuttered window, giving us an invigoratingly fresh and absolutely essential view of the psychology and emotions and appetites of aging women. Jane Campbell, where have you been? We've needed you for a very, very long time."– Jamie Quatro, author of Fire Sermon

"I loved these fresh, wry, strange stories; by turns moving and unnerving, they disturb expectations of the longings, loves and ambitions of older women." – Megan Hunter, author of The Harpy

"Jane Campbell's Cat Brushing is the debut of the decade, an eighty year old woman laying out the physical and spiritual struggle of life at its very end. I was haunted by these stories of older women falling, having strokes, dying–subjects often flattened into sentimentality–but in Campbell's hands made both elegant and transgressive. We are striving creatures of intense desire, Campbell insists, until we are not." – Darcey Steinke, author of Flash Count Diary

"I laughed out loud in joy and admiration so many times in this original, surprising book. These stories felt both deeply familiar to me and far too absent from many of our culture's stories. Jane Campbell is a refreshing, compelling new voice." – Kate Reed Petty, author of True Story

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ISBN-10: 0802160026
ISBN-13: 9780802160027
Publisher: Grove Press
Publish Date: 08/16/2022
Dimensions: 8.30" L, 5.50" W, 1.20" H
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