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Calling Invisible Women: A Novel Hardcover – May 22, 2012
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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A former reporter turned full-time doctor’s wife and mother of two adult children, Clover Hobart had pretty much made her peace with the fact that her wow factor had been turned down a few notches. Nothing, however, prepared her for the shock of waking up one morning to discover that she was invisible—full-blown, H.G. Wells, science-fiction invisible. Trouble is, nobody noticed. Talk about adding insult to injury. Luckily, Clover sees an ad inviting invisible women to meet at the local Sheraton, and suddenly she’s thrust into an amorphous support group who determine that their common denominator is a postmenopausal cocktail of hormone replacement, bone loss, and antianxiety medications. Wearing their newfound invisibility like a shield of invincibility, Clover and company tackle the drug company responsible for this travesty and in the process begin repairing relationships that might have helped them disappear in the first place. Women of a certain age will devour Ray’s sly satire on the perils of big pharma, middle age, and the unseen consequences of living the quiet life. --Carol Haggas
“Witty and thought-provoking, Invisible Women will call out to any female who’s ever been made to feel invisible by virtue of her age, her gender, or both.” –People (3 ½ stars)
“In a story both whimsical and significant, Jeanne Ray addresses an all-too-familiar fate that many women seem to suffer as they grow older…. Heartfelt, inspirational and uplifting, Calling Invisible Women calls out to readers with a passionate and important message. This book is clearly one that deserves to be noticed.” –BookPage
“In her satirical tale of a woman trying to find herself, Ray, the mother of novelist Ann Patchett, offers a commentary about what it’s like for women to grow older.” –New York Post, Required Reading
“Jeanne Ray’s newest novel, Calling Invisible Women, tells the humorous, touching story of how Clover reclaims her sense of self. Stripping off her clothes to go undetected, she becomes a sort of superhero: punishing bullies on the school bus, halting bank robberies, preventing her son from getting a tattoo—not to mention reigniting her career as an investigative journalist. Invisibility is hardly a subtle metaphor. But Ray argues persuasively that going undercover has its benefits.” –O, The Oprah Magazine (Summer Pick), Abbe Wright
“This is a perfectly fabulous read that speaks volumes about society’s lack of awareness of middle-aged women. Read it as fast as you can, before it disappears before your eyes.” –Library Journal, starred review
“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… Julie and Romeo, the story of two people over 60 who find new romance - and the first of six novels, many of which center on women in their 50s and 60s and have led Ray to be dubbed "the mother of senior literature," a title she says she finds hilarious. While still in the draft stage, Ray received advice on her first book from her daughter, award-winning novelist Ann Patchett, who has written Bel Canto and other books.” —Reuters
“Every homemaker who feels she's taken for granted should open Calling Invisible Women and meet Clover Hobart, who looks in the bathroom mirror one day and realizes that not only does she feel invisible, she is invisible…. Fans of Jeanne Ray know that (as with her 2003 debut Julie and Romeo) we'll come to feel that we know Clover and sympathize with her plight. It's readers' good fortune that Ray brings her light, smart touch to this comic take on women of a certain age who feel they've disappeared. A comic tale of a middle-aged woman whose family doesn't notice her--even when she actually disappears.” –Shelf Awareness
“The characters in this fast, fun read are empowered and proactive.” –Publishers Weekly
“Women of a certain age will devour Ray’s sly satire on the perils of big pharma, middle age, and the unseen consequences of living the quiet life.” –Booklist
“Offers a lot of witty charm.” –Kirkus
“Jeanne Ray is truly wise and funny about family, friendship, and love—about the ways in which we see (and don’t see) each other. Calling Invisible Women is an utter delight.” –Hilma Wolitzer
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Here is a funny excerpt from the novel(Oh, the burdens of having a superpower):
"It is an impractical superpower that requires both an exit to change clothes and then a reentrance to the scene of the ongoing crime. Who has time to change? I could not leave to find a phone booth or make my way back to the bat cave, but oh, did I have a lifetime of experience getting out of my clothes. While the puffy-jacket bandit was making his way to the tellers I was already out of my pants and shoes and socks. Flat on my back I was twisting out of my top. “What are you doing?” Gilda hissed. “I’m saving the day,” I said. Sweater, jacket, big, failed scarf, I was wriggling free of all of them. I was on my feet. It was my moment. It was the revenge of all invisible women."
Of course, for the sake this story, Clover is rendered literally invisible by a combination of drugs—a hormone replacement for perimenopausal women, a bone density drug, and an anti-depressant. At one time, Clover had been an investigative journalist, and she puts her skills to work meeting with other invisible women to find out how this happened to them.
I think you have to be a certain age to appreciate Clover's situation. Until you have become invisible yourself, you simply will not be able to relate to her situation and the humor with with Ms Ray tells her story. If you are of a certain age, you will enjoy this book.