Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease for everyone it touches…from the sufferer right through to friends and loved ones. To write about such a subject needs meticulous research and Christoph Fischer seems to have done this with great diligence.
In this novel Alzheimer’s is told as part of a fictitious story revolving around the key subject matter and is handled with care and sensitivity as well as balancing between fact and fiction.
Biddy Korhonen is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. Her long-suffering husband, Walther is single-minded in caring for his wife at home. He is frightened of what is to come and desperately wants to be with Biddy in all her remaining lucid periods. Biddy and Walther have three children, Hanna, Hendrik and Patrick - all of whom have their own secret problems and although Alzheimer’s is the core of the story, these characters have to make difficult decisions about their own lives and what direction they have to take.
The family feels confused, upset and threatened by Biddy’s illness and there are rows between each member as they put their ideas forward – often in direct opposition to how Walther sees things. Walther cannot stop doing as much for Biddy as he can and throughout the reader feels his frustration when things get too much.
Writing about such a subject can never be easy, but Fischer somehow takes the reader into the family – you cannot help empathising with each character as they tackle the despondency in their own personal way, even if at times the subject matter makes it an uncomfortable read.
All in all, I felt this book was well written. Fischer’s characters were rounded and developed more as the book progressed. Right up to the end the reader will feel the love Walther and Biddy share in their declining years.
Excellent and recommended.