Larry is dying of multiple sclerosis. He walks only with assistance, suffers severe depression, is beginning to be incontinent, and has attempted suicide. His best friend, Chris, decides to take him duck hunting, a sport that has been central to their close relationship. This, however, will be their last trip: Chris has decided to drown Larry in the marsh, as a last act of his love.

As this novel retraces the growth of their friendship, it also traces the growth of Chris's love for Larry's wife, Rachel. Rachel has been an almost saintly caregiver for her husband, weathering his increasing disability and despair, while struggling to maintain her own identity and peace of mind.


I won't tell you how the story ends. Hassler is a Minnesota writer whose novels have achieved a good amount of acclaim. What could easily become a melodramatic, over-wrought love story becomes, in his hands, a rich study of friendship, mourning, and the impotence that frustrates so many people who must watch loved ones lose their vitality and companionableness. The portrait of Rachel, in all her perfection and good sense, seems almost too good to be true, but also offers a glimpse at the kinds of decisions faced by many young wives of charismatic husbands.



Place Published

New York



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