How should we define an old man?
Does it depend on declining physical ability?
Or slower reaction time?
Less mental agility?
Or is it merely chronological?
Learn more about advancing in years as author Paul T. Bryant presents an astonishing range of experiences of various old men in his sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, always entertaining collection, OLD MEN.
According to insightful author Paul T. Bryant, old age is neither a crime nor a sin. It is an undeniable truth that happens to everyone who lives long enough, despite society’s emphasis on youth and its sometimes grotesque attempts to cling to it.
In the attempt to channel support, motivation, and to give an idea of what to expect when one grows old, Bryant brings a range of experiences in a series of short stories and sketches of various old men—their lives, their problems, and how they have met those problems.
Moreover, within the book’s engrossing tales, the author also identifies the inevitable challenges old men and women face, as well as the several gains they achieve through time.
Although fiction, OLD MEN contains riveting tales that are drawn out from actual life experiences. Purposely written to spread fresh ideas to both young and old alike, this book is an educational yet delightful catch.
An eclectic collection of short fiction and poetry explores the challenges faced by men as they age. The author, now in his 80s, begins with a prologue reminding readers that “old age is neither a crime nor a sin,” but merely another stage of life with challenges and potential triumphs. Reflecting on the fact that more and more people are living to advanced ages, Bryant offers his work as a report on the road conditions from one who has traveled it, to those coming up behind him. Although his book has an explicitly didactic purpose, this does not mean that the author’s stories and poems are in any way moralizing—nor do they offer easy solutions to the problems of old age such as aimlessness, solitude, pain or the possibility of an afterlife. However it’s true that Bryant’s intention are not purely literary. Although told with unusual stylistic concision and vigor— only rarely marred by clichéd expressions such as references to wind “sighing through the pine needles on a mountain slope” or “a spirited game of touch football”—these fictions do not aspire to aesthetic independence, but rather aim at maximum clarity in representing common experiences. In the process, they reveal the author’s deeply humane insight into a wide variety of human types, ranging from retired businessmen, to minor poets and academics, to American Indians before the arrival of European settlers. Although incidental to his main aims, Bryant’s use of the variety of American geography and history also showcases his deep knowledge of these subjects, thus providing another opportunity for readers to learn from this book. What one story’s narrator says about an old farmhand could equally be applied to the author of this collection—“We should treasure people like Stuart Wellborn, people who know and love the land and who can tell its story.”
Crisp, quietly learned storytelling offers subtle insights into the experience of aging.
- Kirkus Discoveries