Elizabeth Berg writes about friendships again in her latest book, “Talk Before Sleep”. the first person narrator, Ann, is dealing with the premature death of her best friend, the beautiful Ruth.
Ann is a woman with few friends, and finds herself falling in love with Ruth, a woman who is popular, gorgeous, seemingly carefree. Ann is cautious and a bit conservative and she is intrigued by the differences that she finds in Ruth.
When Ruth is diagnosed at age forty-three with breast cancer, Ann finds herself leaving her husband and nine year old daughter at home to care for her friend. As a mother myself, I found this pretty hard to fathom, but even when Ann tries to be home for her family she is explicably drawn back to Ruth’s side, where she sleeps every night and spends every day.
There is a close knit group of women who fawn around Ruth as she lays in her sickbed, a medley of types all brought together by their devotion to this special friend. It is unlikely that any of these women would be friendly with one another without Ruth at their center, though she hopes that they will remain close after she dies.
Death is never an easy subject, and Berg, who wrote this novel after losing her own close friend to breast cancer, handles it with dignity and beauty. If you enjoy reading about women and their friendships you should enjoy this book. I liked it, though I cannot say I loved it. I do recommend it though.