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Calling Invisible Women

Cover of Calling Invisible Women

Calling Invisible Women

A Novel
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A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she’s only really missed when dinner isn’t on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she’s invisible—truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she’s been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely—she’s not losing her mind after all!—but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.
 
Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role. Smart and hilarious, with indomitable female characters, Calling Invisible Women will appeal to anyone who has ever felt invisible.
A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she’s only really missed when dinner isn’t on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she’s invisible—truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she’s been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely—she’s not losing her mind after all!—but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible.
 
Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role. Smart and hilarious, with indomitable female characters, Calling Invisible Women will appeal to anyone who has ever felt invisible.
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  • From the book

    9780307395054|excerpt

    Ray / CALLING INVISIBLE WOMEN

    one

    I first noticed I was missing on a Thursday. Red and I had already been for our walk and he went to sleep on the bath mat while I was taking my shower. Red is a Cairn terrier. He's bath mat size. After the shower I was standing in front of the mirror in a toweling robe brushing my teeth. When I looked up I was gone.

    It didn't startle me at first, not exactly. I thought it was just some trick of the light, a fog that had built up on the mirror, but when I wiped my sleeve over the medicine cabinet I still wasn't there. My toothbrush was there, floating by itself several inches out from the cuff of my robe, and the robe was there, the collar and shoulders filling out the bottom of the mirror's frame, but I was missing. I moved from side to side a couple of times trying to fit myself back into the picture, but all I saw was the open shower curtain behind me, the tiles of the tub, the built-­in shelf that held the shampoo and conditioner. I spat out the toothpaste and there it was in the sink looking exactly like toothpaste. That was when I thought: stroke. Pieces of my vision were missing, even though I couldn't imagine what kind of stroke would just remove a face, a neck, a hand. Leaning forward toward the mirror, I gently tapped my invisible fingers against my invisible cheek and what had once been a finger was stopped by what had once been a face. Curiosity was quickly being replaced by a rising wall of panic. I was fifty-­four years old, and I was gone.

    "Red?" I said, trying out my voice. Unlike the rest of me, my voice was still there. Red lifted his head from the bath mat and looked straight at me, his brown eyes bright and full of recognition. He wagged his tail, thinking that maybe I wanted to go for another walk. Tentatively, I held out my invisible hand to him, wondering if I was dead and, if I was, what effect it would have on the poor dog. But Red sniffed the place where my hand should have been and gave it a couple of licks. I felt the rough wash of his tongue working over my phantom wrist, which I took to be a good sign, and so I went back to the mirror again. Still not there.

    I went into the bedroom feeling light-­headed, or feeling like someone who didn't have a head, and, sitting down on the edge of the bed (which gave a creak of recognition), I picked up the phone and dialed the back-­line number at Arthur's office. I suppose that any day one finds one's self to be invisible was not going to shape up to be a lucky day, so when Arthur's nurse Mary answered I shouldn't have been surprised. Arthur has three nurses and getting Mary on the phone was the definite equivalent of drawing the short straw.

    "Dr. Hobart's office," she said, impatient from the start.

    "Mary, it's Clover. I need to speak to Arthur." I was struggling not to hyperventilate.

    I could see her shaking her head. "He's in with a patient. Is there something I can help you with?"

    Maybe she thought I was calling in regard to a sick child, even though she knew that Nick was twenty-­three and Evie was twenty. "Can you get him for me?"

    "He has...

About the Author-
  • Jeanne Ray worked as a registered nurse for forty years before she wrote her first novel at the age of sixty. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Julie and Romeo, Julie and Romeo Get Lucky, Eat Cake, and Step-Ball-Change.

Reviews-
  • People (3 ½ stars)

    "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."

  • BookPage "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."
  • New York Post, Required Reading "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."
  • O, The Oprah Magazine (Summer Pick), Abbe Wright "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."
  • Library Journal, starred review
    "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."
  • Reuters "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."
  • Shelf Awareness "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."
  • Publishers Weekly "The characters in this fast, fun read are empowered and proactive."
  • Booklist "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."
  • Kirkus "Offers a lot of witty charm."
  • Hilma Wolitzer "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."
Title Information+
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Calling Invisible Women
Calling Invisible Women
A Novel
Jeanne Ray
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