What's left of us when we're gone? In When I Was Young and In My Prime, a young woman watches her grandparents begin to decline. As she sorts through the couple's belongings, she reflects on the untold stories and unsung bonds that make up our lives. Meanwhile, modern urban life places strains on her own marriage and on her sense of what, ultimately, we owe each other.
Weaving together voices, diary entries, poems, conversations and lists, When I Was Young and In My Prime cuts to the heart of our search for intimacy and family, for what makes life meaningful and love real. The result is a smart, moving novel about personal and cultural decline, dignity and work, the urban and the rural, the old and the new, and the search for something ageless.
Alayna Munce grew up in Huntsville, Ontario, and has spent most of her adulthood in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto, where she spends her time writing and working in bars and community centres. Her work has appeared in various Canadian literary journals and has three times won prizes in Grain Magazine's annual Short Grain Contest. In 2003 she won second prize in the CBC Literary Awards' travel writing category. In 2004 she was featured in the anthology Breathing Fire 2: Canada's New Poets.
Read an Excerpt
Terrible to say, but there's a glamour in decay. All the sugars rising to the surface. Even the making of wine is a kind of controlled decomposition.The last days have an atmosphere in which everything stands out, back-lit, finite. Photographers call it magic hour. As if death, closer now, closer every day, radiates a kind of pre-storm light.And then that pre-storm light lasts for a spell after deathfor the living. Basic things take on new definition, demand attention, but resist naming.
What People are Saying About This
Munce blends the essential with the mundane in ways that echo the way people think, and the way people live... Munce's novel is a beautiful and heartbreaking collage work writing the remnants of lives broken up and sold off in parts as well as what else gets rescued and passed on, and writing the foundations on what other lives, such as the narrator's own, as well as her grandparents, are built upon. - rob mclennan
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