“I remember the moment I first became aware of aging,” says the novelist Kate Christensen, now 46, at a rooftop cafe near her house in Greenpoint, in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I was 30. I looked down at my knees and the skin above them had become a little loose. And I thought, 'And so it begins'!” Probably the swiftest way to trivialize the work of a woman writer is to make a big to-do about how sexy she is in person. But Christensen, wearing no make-up and a fitted gray dress, has the easy and direct confidence of a person who feels good in her own skin. Her last novel, “The Great Man” (which won the PEN/Faulkner award), was about three women in their 70s and 80s — two widows and an embittered lesbian painter — who rediscover love, lust and ambition after the death of the “great man,” an artist who had always towered over them all.
In her latest, novel, “Trouble,” two college best friends in their mid-40s, Josie, a Manhattan psychotherapist, and Raquel, an indie rock star, meet up in Mexico City for a “Thelmita and Luisa”-style adventure. Josie has just informed her professor husband, Anthony, and her adopted daughter, Wendy, that she is moving out. Raquel is hiding out from the paparazzi (her most virulent pursuer is a Latina lesbian blogger known as Mina Boriqua) after having been vilified for dating an HBO star half her age, who also happens to have a pregnant girlfriend. The two spend five days in Mexico drinking sangrita and mescal, eating chorizo tacos and chilaquiles, hanging out with artists, and getting reacquainted with a new adult version of their younger selves. But while Josie is coming out of hibernation and reclaiming a sexuality she didn't feel in her 20s, she doesn't realize that Raquel may be going in a very different direction.