Cul de Sac – A memoir by Elsa Joubert

Cul de Sac – A memoir by Elsa Joubert

This is a memoir of being old. How it came to be in my collection I’m not sure – possibly due to someone I know having their name on the back cover… I read on initially curious as to why I’d bought the book some time ago but as I realised it had nothing to do with any of my interests, I continued due to her beautiful descriptions – even in translation from Afrikaans to English.

Elsa Joubert, a long-standing author who died aged 97 in 2020, had been given the idea by her son. He suggested she write about her recent experiences as she had on visiting other countries and places. Growing old is thus portrayed as a place, an experience where machines in hospitals take on lives of their own.

I’m not sure this is really a book that an older person wants to or should read – it depends on their take on life. I found it an honest, reflective account of someone who is comfortable with her lot and seeing the lighter side of what is potentially a very difficult stage in life. I’m sure having an idea of some of the places in and around Cape Town referred to in the book helped keep my engagement.

Having looked a little more at Elsa Joubert, I’m sure another book or two by her will soon be on my reading pile.