Much of Samuel Beckett’s work–especially his later stuff*–deals with, among many other things, the tendency of the human body to betray its master by growing increasingly decrepit. Molloy, my favorite Beckett, treats of this theme pretty extensively, literally as well as metaphorically.
One of my favorite “lighter” reads is a book that is WAY more obscure than it should be. It should be a bestseller, and it would make a BRILLIANT vehicle for Shirley MacLaine and, well, some other old broad: The Widows’ Adventures, by Chicago’s Charles Dickinson. It’s a tremendously touching and real portrait of two old sister, Ina and Helene, who love each other and hate each other, who decide to drive from Chicago to Los Angeles. Just the two of them. Ina has never learned to drive, so Helene, who has always loved being behind the wheel, will drive. They have to drive at night, and by side roads, and very slowly, because Helene is blind, and Ina must guide her along the road every inch of the way. As gimmicky as that sounds, it absolutely works, and you never doubt it for a minute. We learn a lot about the women, their lives, their children, their relationship; they learn a great deal new about each other as well. I really can’t recommend it enough, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why it hasn’t been made into a movie. Come on, an old broad buddy/road movie? It’s a natural.