A painfully sad portrait of the tragi-comedy of life peppered with violence, crudity and the tentativeness of reconciliation. Was Part One really necessary? It is reflected in the e.e cummings' prelude: 'The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches' but it makes the book harder to bear. An evocative, caustic, wryly comic, poignant, powerful cocktail that's hard to swallow.
He watched her and misread the brightness of her eyes. She had always looked tenderly on public displays of affection and he knew that the couples on the floor would delight her. Henry saw only elderly people dancing, but she would see enduring love, the survival of romance. He knew he had the power to make her happy. He knew she wanted a public confirmation of their togetherness, partners in more than a dance. All he had to do was hold her hand and walk forty steps on to the dance floor and then take another hundred while he was there. What was the big deal about that? Why did he hesitate?