“The End of the Day” by Bill Clegg— Friendship

Clegg, Bill. “The End of the Day”, Gallery/Scout Press, 2020.

Friendship

Amos Lassen

Bill Clegg’s “The End of the Day” is a look at “the complicated bonds and breaking points of friendship, the corrosive forces of secrets, the heartbeat of longing, and the redemption found in forgiveness.”

A retired widow in rural Connecticut gets an unexpected visit from her childhood best friend that she has not seen in forty-nine years. A man comes to a Pennsylvania hotel to introduce his estranged father to his newborn daughter and finds him collapsed on the floor of the lobby. A sixty-seven-year-old taxi driver in Kauai gets a phone call from the mainland that takes her back to a traumatic past. While these people may seem to be disconnected, their lives come together as old secrets start to come to the fore. We are reminded of how various choices–to connect, to betray, to protect–become our legacy. On one day, we get sixty years of history.

This is a novel that crosses boundaries of age, class and gender through portraits of the characters and the dynamics of class that inform their lives while asking important questions: those of fate, responsibilities and passions and how they change the course of our lives. The novel’s shattering resonance emerges from its masterful construction. The long-buried secrets that are uncovered show that “the facts of a life do not always add up to the truth.” This is a novel of reckoning and dealing with life. We look at the past and how it return to us.  As we meet the characters and hear their stories, we cannot help but wonder if there is a connection between them. We go fromcharacter to character, back and forth in time looking for answers. Life is not straight and narrow, there are curves along the road Our decisions change our actions and we are influenced by our friends and our own secrets.

We are takeninto the minds of the characters and feel their pain read their thoughts and share their memories. It’s pretty remarkable. The characters propel the novel and we become interested in them and in their hopes, forgiveness, friends, and family. We see how people’s lives connect and disconnect as we connect with them.

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