A middle-aged man struggles to reconcile romantic feelings for a co-worker with the devotion he still feels to his late wife.
The story opens as Rudy Knowles relaxes in bed, chatting for the first 10 minutes of the morning with his wife, Bethany. He hasn’t yet realized that she died during the night. When he finally notices that Bethany is not breathing, Rudy mobilizes into action, attempting frantic CPR and calling an ambulance. Unfortunately, it's too late to revive Bethany, who had a heart attack. Following this harrowing scene, the story jumps forward by nearly a year. Rudy is working as a pianist in Nordstrom’s, a job that was intended as a temporary gig following a setback in his finance career, but the loss of his wife has left him too drained to make any professional movement. During his time at the store, he forms a friendship with Sasha, a woman from the watch department who has suffered losses of her own. Rudy is surprised to notice his interest in Sasha gradually turning romantic, and he grapples with the question of whether he is ready to date another woman. Just as he begins to pursue Sasha, a detective appears at the store looking for Rudy. Detective Jensen tells Rudy that Bethany’s death may have been murder, and suddenly, all the progress Rudy had made toward coping with her loss is shattered. Rudy’s thoughts and actions grow increasingly self-destructive, and his future becomes anything but certain. As he struggles with staggering sorrow, readers will wonder along with Rudy whether he can ever recover. Told in the third person, the narrative shifts periodically from Rudy to Sasha, bringing Sasha’s struggles to the foreground, as well. Through the tragedies each character has suffered, the author highlights the surprising and long-lasting ways in which grief can shock and debilitate its bearers. The story uses quiet prose and unexpected moments of gentle humor to illustrate the importance of human connection during trying times. This is a difficult and emotional tale in which grief becomes a character of its own.
A slow-moving but poignant story about loss, unexpected connections, and the circuitous path toward healing.