This novel is all about waiting - waiting and longing. Rick waits for his boyfriend to send for him. His friends wait for love and for death, often simultaneously. The boy he has a discrete affair with waits for just the right time to reveal a secret...
If all this sounds rather tedious, then that is because the magic isn't in the plot, it's in the way the characters inter-relate. The poignancy of an HIV positive and a quadriplegic man holding each other in bed, just for the physical intimacy. The wistfulness with which Rick is told to savour his worries, because that means he still has a future ahead of him...all within the context of a clock ticking inexorably towards departure.
In many ways this is a satisfying novel in that everyone gets what they want in the end...or almost. But there's a cunning sting in the tail which is well worth, well..."waiting" for.
For those of us who feel our lives are just one long endless waiting room, this is a life-affirming novel. Never has waiting felt so good!