Alex and Ruth Cohen have been married 45 years, lived all that time in New York City, and now with the frailties of older age beginning to become apparent, have put their much loved apartment on the market, to hopefully be replaced by one in a building with an operational lift. So open homes to organise, and open homes to attend. Realtors to deal with in their selling and more realtors to deal with in their purchasing. As if that is not enough to be going on with, their adored pet dachshund Dorothy has seriously injured her spine, resulting in partial paralysis and two elderly people rushing as quickly and as urgently as they can to the local veterinary hospital. It is Friday evening and their passage through the city is hampered by traffic gridlock following a tanker being abandoned in a tunnel, throwing the whole city into complete chaos. In these post 9/11 days the threat of a terrorist attack is never far away, and with the driver on the loose, who knows how this will end. It is interesting the power of paranoia, because from memory I don't think the reader is ever told how the tanker came to be stopped in the tunnel.

So over the course of the weekend, Alex and Ruth agonise over buying and selling in a frightened city, the tanker driver/terrorist successfully eludes the authorities, and Dorothy undergoes surgery and post operative recovery. This is a snap shot of ordinary people living ordinary lives, doing the best they can with the struggles that old age brings, the slower thinking processes. It is also the most gorgeous and touching love story; not only Alex and Ruth's long and enduring relationship, now in its sunset days, but also their love for their little Dorothy, the light of their lives, and in turn her love for them. Because unusually and brilliantly, chapters of this book are also written from the point of view of Dorothy, prior to her operation and after. We feel her fear, her uncertainty at where she is, the sickness and injuries of the cats and dogs around her, her focus on Alex and Ruth returning to pick her up and take her home.

I loved this: such a joy to read, not at all complicated, no great earth shattering moral or ethical dilemmas to be solved, no navel gazing or self-pondering. Just sheer enjoyment in being part of a very small family getting on with the business of day to day living. 

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