In our cynical world it's encouraging to witness two people who can fall in love at first sight at the wonder that is Lourdes. But this gentle observation of human emotions is far removed from a run-of-the-mill romance. We witness Gillian's turmoil of craving love whilst caring for her brain damaged husband - you can really feel her bitterness, love and guilt through the author's words. An easy read which is big on feeling and intelligence.
I marvel at Claire's ability to conduct a normal conversation - one that is packed with the medical details normal for Lourdes - while constantly breaking off to encourage Martin, who, even at this snail's pace, take two shuffling steps to every one of ours. Her tender solicitude to his slightest need makes me doubly ashamed of my frustration with Richard. Is it that they share a profound bond, forged in the womb, denied to those of us who were coupled at the altar, or rather that she is a decent person who would never seek to escape her obligations in nights of adultery and fantasies of divorce?
'You're a wonder,' I say, as she holds a tissue to his runny nose and tells him to blow.
'I'm his mother,' she replies, perplexed.
Somehow I'm his wife lacks the same ring.