Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment gives us 48 hours in the lives of an elderly couple and their dog. Dorothy, the dachshund, suffers paralysis of the hind quarters the night before Alex and Ruth Cohen are about to have an open house in order to sell their East Village 5th floor walkup apartment which they have owned for almost 50 years. They hope, with the proceeds of the sale, to be able to afford an apartment in an elevator building. Complicating their trip to the dog hospital with Dorothy is a city in panic over first, the jackknifed gasoline tanker truck in the tunnel, and then the fear that the escaped driver may be a terrorist. All of this plays out as they leave Dorothy for surgery, show their own apartment and look at a couple of others and even meet friends for dinner. The tension created by the potential terrorist colors everything. There is gentle humor in much of this, especially in the media's feeding frenzy. The story switches perspectives often from Ruth to Alex to Dorothy and gives an insight into each personality. A truly lovely book.