This is the best book I've read in a very long time, and I've read some good books. I read a lot of books--one a day when I'm on a roll. I'll not quote from the first paragraph this time (Even the entire prologue is a bit off-putting, but hang on... It'll be worth it.), but from the opening paragraphs of the second-to-the-last chapter. Brilliant.
Our great romances and triumphs and conquests ultimately do nothing to bind us together, one to another. It is in defeat and tragedy that our souls show through, and we are known.
A person may tell you about a glorious achievement in business, about being promoted or being hired for a dream job, and be saying nothing at all about his core self. But have that person speak to the sinking feeling of once being laid off, the anxiety of scrounging for tuition money and coming up short, the terror of losing a business or a home, and you are on your way to having a real bond, a real friend.
A woman may speak glowingly about finishing a marathon, or building a dream home, or having a child admitted to college, and yet be telling you nothing. But have her tell you about her panic at getting older, about the slow erosion of her body, or the lingering grief of a miscarriage years ago, or her waning passion for the man she still loves, and you may realize that we are, truly, more alike than different in our needs and fears--and much more alone than we need to be.
But perhaps nowhere can we see each other more clearly than in an intensive care unit, under the cold fluorescent lights, exhausted by our vigils, surrounded by tubing running into and out of our bodies and those of loved ones, listening to the constant beeping of cardiac monitors. Because in an intensive care unit, your job doesn't matter, the new addition to your house doesn't matter, your religion and political party and even sexual orientation are irrelevant. The things that define you and those who love you are simply whether you will live or not.
There are no strangers and no enemies in the ICU.
I'm going to read his backlist. When I finished this book, I didn't want to wait. I wanted to start reading another immediately. I tried to download his first Frank Clevenger book, Denial, but it's not available as an e-book. Back to the library.