In 2014, Toby Olson's wife Miriam died at the age 80, and after nearly 50 years of marriage. She had suffered from Alzheimer's for some years before her death and Toby became her principal carer. This is a memoir of that period, a story of love and frustration, remembering and forgetting. Miriam is The Other Woman of the title - a woman other than the one she once was. With each seemingly tiny insignificant detail (his wife's chant little little little little little little ) Olson lets us in to the unfathomable reverberations of his feeling, and I will t soon forget the constellations he has unfolded. - Meredith Quartermain
Toby Olson lives in Philadelphia and North Truro, on Cape Cod, where he has done most of his writing over the past forty-five years. He was born near Chicago in 1937, but left there at a young age. Through high school and his four years in the Navy as a surgical technician, he lived in California, Arizona, and Texas, and after finishing his BA in English and Philosophy at Occidental College in Los Angeles, he moved to New York City, where he received an MA from Long Island University. Olson taught at the Aspen Writers' Workshop, which he co-founded in the mid-sixties, and at Long Island University and The New School For Social Research before moving to Philadelphia and Temple University in 1975.Olson began writing poetry in the early sixties, but it was not until 1976 that his first novel, The Life of Jesus, was published (by New Directions). Seaview, for which he received the PEN/Faulkner Award for the most distinguished work of American fiction in 1983, followed, and since then he has published the novels The Woman Who Escaped From Shame, Utah, Dorit in Lesbos, At Sea, Write Letter to Billy, The Blond Box, The Bitter Half and Tampico.Numerous books of Olson's poetry have been published, including We Are the Fire, Unfinished Building, Human Nature and his most recent title, Darklight (Shearsman, 2007).In addition to the PEN/Faulkner Award, Olson has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other organizations.