Can’t Wait Wednesday #17

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings, which was formerly hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Can’t Wait Wednesday is a chance to cast a spotlight on books we haven’t read yet, in particular ones that have yet to be published.

This week, I can’t wait for…

Synopsis

Combining the pathos and social significance of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-stop Café and the humor of The Golden Girls with a cast of diverse characters worthy of the musical Rent, Fishwives chronicles a lifetime through the eyes of two old women behaving badly.

On a cold winter day, eighty-nine-year old Regina and ninety-year-old Jackie―who met in 1955, an era when women were rounded up and jailed simply for dancing together or dressing like men―manage to get themselves out of the house. With the help of TJ and Ramon, two young men from their working-class neighborhood in Western Massachusetts, they tie their long-dead Christmas tree to the top of their car and, using a screwdriver in place of a broken gearshift, slowly make the drive to the dump.

This is also the day when everything changes.

In the course of the day, memories are triggered, and their history as a passionate, devoted, but troubled couple at the intersection of historic cultural and political change unfolds via scenes from the past: their first meeting during a police raid on the bar; Regina’s epiphany that she could truly love a woman; Jackie’s persistent infidelity and gambling; a nomadic life often lived apart in the early years as they run away from landlords who discover their secret, toward jobs and a sustainable life, sometimes away from, but always back to each other; the Kennedy assassination, a backdrop to one reconciliation; Jackie’s efforts to convince Regina to marry, Regina’s saying yes.

Few elderly characters (and even fewer queers) depicted in fiction are seen in their full humanity. Rarer still are depictions of old people in the fullness of their sexuality. Fishwives pulls back a long-closed curtain, revealing these aging women as sensual, loving, and flawed beings struggling with the harsh realities of life, including poverty, which Jackie calls “that fishwife who gets louder and meaner in old age.”

Release Date

February 9, 2021

Why I Can’t Wait

This book is part of my 2021 A to Z Reading Challenge! I have been awaiting its release for quite a while now.

First of all, I can count the number of books I’ve read that have protagonists aged 50 or older on the fingers of one hand. (I love Discworld‘s Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg so much, guys, but they’re getting pretty lonely on this list). However, for books with queer elder protagonists I’ve got… nothing. Literally nothing. Which is something I’m eager to change!

This book is very ambitious in tackling a lot of subjects — homophobia, poverty, infidelity, ageism, and perhaps more — and I’m very, very curious to see how Bellerose will handle so many vast and nuanced social topics. I think this book has the potential to become a classic of wlw literature if Bellerose can give all of these topics the level of detail they deserve, but if not… well, we shall see.


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