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Old age and loneliness

A Stiff Upper Lip; exploring old age and loneliness

Monday 16th February

A Stiff Upper Lip; exploring old age and loneliness
A ‘book club’ style event, introduced by Sarah McMichael

‘Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont’ by Elizabeth Taylor (2013) Virago, London

This is a brilliant short novel about the elderly Mrs Palfrey who goes to live out her last days at a London hotel amongst a group of eccentric, elderly gentile women and one man. When her daughter and nephew fail to visit her she strikes up a friendship with a young man whom she ‘borrows’ in order to keep up the appearance of having at least one devoted relative to her fellow residents. It is funny, incredibly poignant, and sad. It is about, amongst many things, loneliness, old age and fading gentility. Taylor makes acute observations about the subtleties and cruelties of human behaviour, particularly in this, one of her many, novels.

About the Speaker

Sarah McMichael is a Birkbeck trained psychodynamic counsellor and currently an honorary
psychotherapist in the NHS. She also has a BA and MA in English literature and a lifelong passion for
reading fiction.

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