Ladies’ Lunch: And Oth­er Stories

January 8, 2023

For almost six decades Segal has qui­et­ly pro­duced some of the best fic­tion and essays in Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture…”—The New York Times

Beloved New York­er writer Lore Segal, at 95-years-old, is a nation­al trea­sure. Work­ing at the height of her pow­ers, in this sto­ry col­lec­tion she turns her gim­let eye and com­pas­sion­ate humor on aging and life in the slow lane.

From the mas­ter of the short short comes a col­lec­tion of 16 new sto­ries fea­tur­ing old friends who have loved and lunched togeth­er for over 40 years. These eru­dite, sharp-mind­ed nona­ge­nar­i­ans offer star­tling insights into friend­ship, fam­i­ly and aging.

Can the group orga­nize a vis­it to one of their num­ber in her new, and detest­ed, assist­ed liv­ing sit­u­a­tion? Is this a fab­u­lous par­ty with old friends, or a funer­al recep­tion? And does who was sleep­ing with whom, way back when, still matter?

In sto­ry after sto­ry, Segal’s voice is always hilar­i­ous and urbane, heart­break­ing and pro­found, keen and utter­ly unsen­ti­men­tal, as she tack­les aging’s affronts.

Discussion Questions

Lore Segal’s short sto­ry col­lec­tion fol­lows a group of friends as they nav­i­gate the mine­fields that come with aging. The nine­ty-five-year-old author gives us the gift of sto­ries from the per­spec­tive of women of a cer­tain age” — urbane, wise, and dimin­ished but not defeat­ed. With humor and grace, Segal cel­e­brates the bonds of friend­ship and how they can be strained by spous­es and changes in cir­cum­stance and health. 

Segal’s writ­ing is engag­ing, unflinch­ing, and insight­ful. These sto­ries face head-on the uni­ver­sal inevitabil­i­ty of death and decay, but they also rev­el in the humor that can be found in rela­tion­ships that span decades.