Stick with this novel as the story slowly unwinds through a narrator who only afterwards understands what has happened. A first novel.
At that disordered moment I clung to the proprieties. It is not for a man to ask his friend for news after his wife. He should know everything himself, and if these are indeed his friends and they know he is labouring under the curse of misinformation, they will protect him fom, not with, the truth.