Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, Kathleen Rooney (77)

It’s New Year’s Eve in 1984, and Lillian Boxfish has decided to take a walk. She’s lived in NYC since the 30’s when she was a wunderkind ad woman at Macy’s, spinning clever verses to sell bleach and furs and collars. New York isn’t exactly as it was then, but Lillian still loves walking, meeting new people, re-learning the rhythms of the city. The book follows Lillian through one long night and various adventures, and re-lives her very long life in flashes of memory.

I loved Lillian. She’s brave and strong and interested in everything. That last is the most important, and what I hope to take with me through my ancient days. This resonated with many things– I’ve been watching Grace and Frankie lately, and I love the perspective of the nearly-invisible woman. (An Unnecessary Woman and The Elegance of the Hedgehog also scratch this itch.) I’m always interested in the rhythms of walking and the rhythms of thought– Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust comes to mind, and particularly all of the quotes/anecdotes she uses at the beginning of authors and philosophers articulating the importance of physical movement to their thought processes.

I listened to this on audiobook, and the narration was excellent. I would have rushed through it if I’d been reading on my own, the slower pace of the read-aloud makes me savour a bit more intentionally.


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