A short, faithfully remembered and felt book -- a long vigil -- some seven years after her father's first stroke when the...

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THE MATTHEW TREE

A short, faithfully remembered and felt book -- a long vigil -- some seven years after her father's first stroke when the doctor said nothing ""heroic. . . we must do the minimum."" The minimum entailed then taking in her mother (at one point briefly her father as well, cum nursing help) to live with her, ferrying her daily to the facility in which he spent most of these years along with the clean pajamas and the homemade ""nourishing"" foods. The daughter voices only too natural resentments -- ""the reversal of our roles. . . pushed too far, like a tasteless practical joke."" Always, in the background is the sense of human waste (hers, her husband's), the wish for one ""fast and final happy pill"" which her father, who could perhaps iterate seven consecutive words in an afternoon, finally reciprocated: ""Please, my dear, get rid of me."" In a few personal pages this says all that has been argued at unreasonable length about our absurd reverence for life and our failure to sanction death. Unassailably.

Pub Date: April 2, 1975

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1975