Larry works in an Albuquerque nursing home and like many of its residents he is not thrilled to be at this last-stop warehouse for old folks. Trained as a counselor, he hardly notices the human spirit flowing around him until he meets Bill Foster. Bill, a successful clinical psychologist, is lying comatose after a left hemisphere stroke, as Philip Cook, one of his oldest patients, leans over the hospital bed listening intently to his inarticulate attempts to speak.
Through Philip’s uncanny understanding of Bill’s incoherent mutterings, an unlikely collaboration begins, linking the unconfident Larry with the experienced but speech-damaged Dr. Bill. That summer, with Larry’s wife and son out of town, Bill’s counseling practice helps renew Larry confidence as a therapist and--at the nursing home—he starts to see residents, families, and fellow staff as fellow human beings.
But old traumas (the drowning death of his brother and his misplaced blame of his father) run deep: each step seems to open the door for further falls from grace.
This is a novel about disability and the human depth that is left behind after the loss of physical and cognitive faculties. It is also a book about the power of forgiveness.