Johan has sometimes been fortunate but never particularly successful: he lost his job for a breach of professional integrity, and he and his son haven’t spoken in eight years. His greatest happiness–his grace–is his competent, confident wife Mai, who loves him unreservedly. Now, with six months to live, and with Mai’s help, he intends to die well. But as he broods on the pleasures and regrets of his life, and death slowly envelops him, Johan’s resolution begins to waver. Morally intricate and full of sly humor, Grace is a touching and unexpectedly dramatic exploration of the territory between life and death.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: Grace|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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Chapter OneWhen, after an awkward pause, the young doctor delivered the latest diagnosis and began somewhat perfunctorily to describe the various treatment options, never really attempting to hide his certainty that this miserable thing would ultimately kill my friend Johan Sletten, Johan closed his eyes and thought of Mai's hair.
The doctor was a fair-haired young man and could scarcely help it if his violet eyes would have looked better on a woman. He never spoke the word death. The word he used was alarming.
"Johan!" the doctor said, trying to get Johan's attention. "Are you listening?"
Johan resented being addressed so familiarly. Not to mention the doctor's shrill voice-you would think it had never finished breaking, or perhaps he'd been castrated by parents hopeful of some future for him as a eunuch. Johan had a good mind to make a point about first names and surnames, especially in light of the difference in their ages. The doctor was younger than Johan's son, to whom he hadn't spoken for eight years. But it wasn't just a question of etiquette. It wasn't just that young people should refrain from addressing their elders familiarly as a matter of course. Johan had always been mindful of proper distances. Any intimacy between virtual strangers-like the dreadful custom of exchanging little kisses, not so much kisses as grazings of cheeks-struck him as embarrassing, even downright disrespectful.
To tell the truth, he preferred anyone to whom he was not married to address him as Mr. Sletten. He ached to tell the doctor so but didn't dare; it seemed unwise to create ill will between them at this point. The conversation migh...