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Matthew Griffin

First Sentence:     Lord knows how long he’s been lying out there: flat on his back in the middle of the vegetable garden.

Back of the book:

Wendell Wilson, a taxidermist, and Frank Clifton, a veteran, meet after the Second World War. But, in this declining textile town in a southern US state, their love holds real danger. Severing nearly all ties with the rest of the world, they carve out a home for themselves on the outskirts of town. For decades, their routine of self-reliant domesticity – Wendell’s cooking, Frank’s care for a yard no one sees, and the vicarious drama of courtroom TV – seems to protect them.

But when Wendell finds Frank lying motionless outside at the age of eighty-three, their carefully crafted life together begins to unravel. As Frank’s memory and physical strength deteriorate, Wendell struggles in vain to hold on to the man he once knew. Faced with giving care beyond his capacity, he must come to terms with the consequences of half a century in seclusion: the different lives they might have lived – and the impending, inexorable loss of the one they had.

Quotes from the book:

You can’t just have one doctor anymore, one person who knows all there is to know about you. They keep dividing us up, down and down into parts too small for a knife blade, and then they go and invent an implement with a finer edge. You’ve got to have your heart man, your lungs man, your digestive man, your skin man, your brain man, until you’re nothing more than an assemblage of organs they can split apart and divide among the needy if you check the right box on the form to renew your driver’s license.

‘He stares at his palms, turned up in submission like dogs’ pale, tender bellies.’

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Last Sentence:     I hold on to his hand, squeeze it as tight as I can, and walk with him into the dark house.

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