“There was an old man who dwelt in the land of New Mexico, and he lost his wife.” From that opening line, this tender novella is at once universal and deeply personal. The nameless narrator, a writer, shares his most intimate thoughts about his wife, their life together, and her death. But just as death is inseparable from life, his wife seems still to be with him. Her memory and words permeate his days. In The Old Man’s Love Story, master storyteller Rudolfo Anaya crafts the tale of a lifelong love that ultimately transcends death.
An elegy not just for the dead but for the vitality of youth, the old man’s story captures both the heartaches and ironies of old age. We follow him as he proceeds through days of grief and memory, buying his few groceries, driving slower than the other travelers on the road. He talks with his wife along the way. “Go slow,” he hears her admonish. As he sits in the garden with their dogs, he senses her worry over his loneliness. A year passes. He longs to care for someone, but—to love again?
Like characters in Anaya’s previous fiction, the old man lives in a real New Mexico, but one inhabited by spirits. Death provides a gateway to other worlds, just as memories connect him to other times and places. When he eventually begins a new friendship with a woman, a widow, they share a bittersweet understanding of joy mixed with sorrow, promise mixed with loss.
Anaya’s reflections, as shared through the experiences of this old man, point to the power and importance of love at every stage of life. Lyrical and earthy, sad yet suffused with humor, The Old Man’s Love Story will speak to all readers, perhaps especially to those who have suffered a recent loss.
"This heartbreaking fable comes from a deep well of experience and wisdom. Rudolfo Anaya is not concerned with fashion, or fame. He is writing with blood. This is a book for everyone who has ever loved, for everyone who has grieved, and for everyone who has ever hoped, in the darkest night, that what is essential goes on possibly forever. I love this book, and you will, too.”—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America
“Rudolfo Anaya is a wondrous spirit, generous with his hard-earned wisdom and his gifts for story and for love. The Old Man’s Love Story is meditative, majestically deep, but simple in execution. It flows with narrative power. We are all wiser, deeper,and closer to God through Anaya’s words and images"—Luis J. Rodríguez, author of It Calls You Back: An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing
“Part memoir, part poetry, all heart, The Old Man’s Love Story questions life, love, death, eternity and all parts in between. . . . A must read.”—Roundup Magazine
“Anaya's early novel [Bless Me, Ultima], and his latest novella, more than 40 years later, shimmer with a similar voice and a similar, uncommon spirit.” –Christine Wald-Hopkins, Tucson Weekly
“Thoughtfully conceived and beautifully written. Anaya is a skilled captain of his literary ship. The result is a quiet beauty in the storytelling.”—Luis Torres, Latinopia
“Anaya’s newest and greatest book may be his best of all. The Old Man’s Love Story touches the heart. He reminds us that growing old does not have to be a sad and tragic life's journey.—Joe Olvera, The El Paso Times
“Tender and lyrical. . . a powerful, thoughtful meditation on life and death. The Old Man’s Love Story is an emotional ride that will provoke laughter and tears.” –David Steinberg, The Albuquerque Journal
“Told from the perspective of a grieving, aging writer whose wife has just died, The Old Man’s Love Story is perhaps as close to memoir as a novel can get. It details not the cold logistics of a death but the memory-laden poetry of the grieving process of one man who becomes, quite easily, Everyman.”—Candelora Versace, New Mexico Magazine