Invisible women of "a certain age" fight back in book

Thu Jun 7, 2012 6:40am EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Clover is over 50 and under appreciated, a housewife and mother of grown children whose life takes an unexpected turn one day when she wakes up invisible. Worse, her husband and son don't even notice that she's gone.

But the heroine of bestselling novelist Jeanne Ray's "Calling Invisible Women" bands together with other invisible women in her town to fight back, gaining a new view of her town, her loved ones and herself.

Ray, who didn't start writing novels until she was 60 - inspired partly by the urge to show that people "of a certain age" had as much fun and delight in their lives as younger folk - said a liking on her part for people with superpowers, like invisibility, gave the book its driving impetus.

"Then, of course, just the plight of women over 50. I say plight not because I'm feeling sorry for women over 50 particularly, but I think they are a bit under appreciated," the nearly 75-year-old said in a telephone interview.

"They really do - and I'm speaking of myself as well - become slaves to their home in many ways, and put aside the talents that they have or had, and instead make a nice home and make hubby happy, and make the kids, hopefully, grow up strong."

In Ray's case, though she always wanted to become a writer, her Depression-era parents encouraged her into the steady job of nursing - a career that ultimately helped her writing.

"Nursing I can credit with giving me insight into human beings that I would have never been able to have before. It's kind of like being a bartender," she said.

She was still a nurse when a chance encounter at a grocery store after her 60th birthday inspired her to start writing.   Continued...