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This is a reflection on the amusements and anxieties of growing older. Small Comforts is a work of creative nfiction that quietly probes the mysteries of an ordinary life when reviewed at middle age. Essayist Jeff Hammond, a midcareer academic who examines a variety of lifelong obsessions, frustrates any expectation that life's fogs dissipate as we age. At stake here is the need for those of us who have reached a certain age to examine who we have become with courage, honesty, and humor.Beneath the discoveries of a sometimes bewildered narrator lurks that strange sense of liberation that can brighten the process of getting older. Hammond's diverse musings on time and its effects will prompt an oddly calming discovery that many problems usually identified as midlife issues have actually been with us since childhood.In the narrator's seriocomic self-effacement, Small Comforts embodies midlife retrospection with humor and tender stalgia, certain to appeal to the ever-growing middle-aged population.
Jeffrey Hammond is the George B. and Willma Reeves Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts and professor of English at St. Mary's College in Maryland. He has published Ohio States: A Twentieth-Century Midwestern (Kent State University Press, 2002) as well as numerous prize-winning essays in magazines and literary journals.