Coming up to her sixtieth birthday, Kate Figes found herself turning to the larger questions of family, love and life's meaning. It is like this author to examine different stages in writing, and her books - from new motherhood and adolescence to coupledom and infidelity - testify to this way of understanding herself and others: so naturally she turned to writing to explore the challenges of becoming sixty. And then - a horrible, and sudden diagnosis of breast cancer which had metastasised.
Instead of a gentle journey into middle age, Kate Figes began to write for her life. Now, clawing back confidence and control was not just the ordinary business of these years: it was the only way to try and survive great pain and emotional turmoil.
As her writing became an honest reflection on ageing, failing, regrets and the importance of childhood memory, friends, family and love she found a new determination to live to the full and about finding ways to face up to a shortened life expectancy with dignity.
Original, passionate, funny and moving, On Smaller Dogs and Larger Life Questions will resonate with anyone dealing with the many griefs and freedoms of midlife. It is about living with a life-threatening disease but it is even more: an intelligent and passionate look at the way we can approach disappointment and trouble, friendship and love - every day.