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Old Friends

af Tracy Kidder

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
354955,585 (3.95)10
"Two old men in a little room. Together they represent some one hundred and sixty years of memory, of hope and achievement and sorrow - of life. They are residents of Linda Manor, a nursing home. What will become of them now?" "Once again, in the humble materials of daily life, Tracy Kidder - the author of House and Among Schoolchildren - has discovered a story of breathtaking intensity and depth. Old Friends introduces us to Lou Freed and Joe Torchio, strangers thrust together as roommates. They discover, as Kidder writes, that the problem of Linda Manor is "the universal problem of separateness," and we watch as, movingly, they set about solving it, with camaraderie and friendship, and ultimately love." "Tracy Kidder has won the Pulitzer Prize and countless other awards for his best-selling portraits of American life. Now he confronts his greatest theme in this close-in study of old age. With the exactitude and the rich human sympathies for which he has become famous, Kidder opens up this world to us as if it were a wondrous new country - a country that turns out to be very like one's native land." "Old Friends takes place almost entirely in Linda Manor, and its residents become urgently alive - struggling still with their circumstances, their pasts, and the challenge of living a moral life. For all its unflinching reportage, Old Friends is laced with comedy, sometimes with gentle wit, sometimes with farce. In the end, it reminds us of the great continuities, of the possibilities for renewal in the face of mortality, of the survival to the very end of all that is truly essential about life. This is Tracy Kidder's most affecting, and most important, book to date."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (mere)
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In the 80's I read Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine. I remember being so rivited by it that I read it twice. The subject of his next books didn't interest me and I forgot about him. Recently I picked up this one - about the residents of a nursing home in New England. It was interesting to meet all the people. Not riviting but interesting. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
I think it’s important to respect people who do not wish to lead a religious life, including those elderly people who do not wish to lead a religious life. It can indeed be surprising how unexceptional many elderly people are in this respect.

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It is a nice contrast; I’m not sure how I missed it the first time, but.

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Details have a way of questioning you. I’m religious, so I have the idea that we should be more like the nice little old man than the mean old cranky man. But things like that have a way of getting murky, after awhile.

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Eventually this is going to veer away, but.

I know that many people, including people who are about to die, are not interested in religion, but maybe some form of counseling should be recommended; “Maybe if I ask for Box of Apple Juice #12, I’ll finally get some love out of this cruel world”, isn’t a strategy I see as likely to succeed, especially when its demands fall mostly on lower-class women who haven’t really (“Take a picture with the bureaucrat. Good now you’re my slave.”) been trained to do anything but wipe people’s asses. Even the nurses are superficially trained; “Okay I get it. ‘Tolstoy’s question haunts me. “What if my whole life has been wrong?”’. But is there something physical you want? Can I get you a box of apple juice?” I know how elitist it sounds to ask people to evolve from Frank Sinatra dance parties and youth to God and death, but how many dance parties are there going to be in the final weeks of their life? Is stupidity a Requirement of Life in this country?

And dammit, I do believe in ideal culture.

14-year-old-boy: *sobbing the sob of death* I can only spend twenty-three hours a day with my girlfriend. I have to spend an hour alone. Every. Single. Day.
Old Man: *throws a copy of one of Richard Rohr’s books at him*
Boy: “Falling Upward”? What does that mean? I want a box of apple juice. I’m being oppressed.

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But I don’t want you to think that I’m angry with Tracy Kidder; I couldn’t do what he does.

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Even the Victorian divines reported that people avoided thinking about the four last things, you know.

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Hearing the old man repeat his old stories can be good.

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I agree that “cheer up” denial is unnecessary. I’m actually relatively extreme about that.

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It really is true that God is in the details, as the Spanish say.

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Intergenerational dialogue is nice, if it’s authentic. But I think in a really healthy society it wouldn’t be limited to the economic marginals, old men and young boys, chatting about what their favorite color is. [“You have to visit your dying grandfather.” “Let me check my bank account. Nope, I don’t have to do that.”] Nobody really thinks much of that. Ideally you could have the young man come to see an elder with his real problems, since every society has real problems. “I feel so anxious about the future.” “My life lacks direction.” “I get so angry sometimes.”

“What’s your favorite color?”
  smallself | Jul 5, 2019 |
I never tire of Tracy Kidder’s writing. I’ve read most of his books, including the Pulitzer Prize winner Soul of a New Machine. This book, Old Friends, is written in Kidder’s typical fly on the wall style. It’s about the residents at Linda Manor nursing home. We spend time with a variety of patients, from the quaint to the bizarre. Some of the relationships are touching, especially the one between Joe and Lou, two unlikely friends from two different generations. Many of the stories are heart wrenching and almost too difficult to finish. Being in my late 60s, I probably shouldn’t be reading books about life inside nursing homes, but I can’t resist Tracy Kidder. This book, like all his others, is a gem. ( )
  DanDiercks | Jun 11, 2019 |
Beautiful. Pure, clean writing that made me less afraid of nursing homes, disabled old people, and my own aging. I still don't want to stick around after I'm no longer able to read or use the bathroom by myself, because I know that most folks aren't as well cared for as those at Linda Manor, but that's irrelevant. What is relevant is that Kidder is an amazing writer, and I was sad when this book was over and I had to say goodbye to all the folks I got to know and care about. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
There are many reviews about Old Friends that start off with, "this was hard to read." I have to wonder how many of those reviewers are administrators at retirement/nursing/convalescent homes. Do they see their own facilities as described by Kidder? It is easy to flash back to the experiences of a loved one in such a place. My own grandparents lingered in nursing homes until their deaths. I can remember the overwhelming smell of antiseptic and urine; my father reading an activity board and commenting on a "mystery" ride. "Just don't get into any any black, squared vehicles" he quipped. Funny, But not. Kidder's account of life inside Linda Manor is frank and unflinching. He also writes with a profound sensitivity, introducing patients as people with past lives and present feelings. They aren't subjects used to illustrate a point. You feel for these people because their character development is as fleshed out as if it were a fictional account. It's beautiful in a haunting way. ( )
1 stem SeriousGrace | Sep 3, 2013 |
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"Two old men in a little room. Together they represent some one hundred and sixty years of memory, of hope and achievement and sorrow - of life. They are residents of Linda Manor, a nursing home. What will become of them now?" "Once again, in the humble materials of daily life, Tracy Kidder - the author of House and Among Schoolchildren - has discovered a story of breathtaking intensity and depth. Old Friends introduces us to Lou Freed and Joe Torchio, strangers thrust together as roommates. They discover, as Kidder writes, that the problem of Linda Manor is "the universal problem of separateness," and we watch as, movingly, they set about solving it, with camaraderie and friendship, and ultimately love." "Tracy Kidder has won the Pulitzer Prize and countless other awards for his best-selling portraits of American life. Now he confronts his greatest theme in this close-in study of old age. With the exactitude and the rich human sympathies for which he has become famous, Kidder opens up this world to us as if it were a wondrous new country - a country that turns out to be very like one's native land." "Old Friends takes place almost entirely in Linda Manor, and its residents become urgently alive - struggling still with their circumstances, their pasts, and the challenge of living a moral life. For all its unflinching reportage, Old Friends is laced with comedy, sometimes with gentle wit, sometimes with farce. In the end, it reminds us of the great continuities, of the possibilities for renewal in the face of mortality, of the survival to the very end of all that is truly essential about life. This is Tracy Kidder's most affecting, and most important, book to date."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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