the end of the summer
August Farewell, by David G. Hallman; Published by iUniverse.com; Available in Paperback (2011)
Strangely, despite the sad story at its heart, this is probably the happiest and most life affirming of these three books. Hallman’s concept sounds as simple as it does bleak: the book is a memoir of the last days of his lover Bill Conklin’s life, from the moment they learned of his advanced pancreatic cancer, to his death 16 days later. Interspersed are reminisces of their 33-year life together. Against the odds, the story that emerges feels genuinely uplifting, bringing a redemptive tone to the story, taking and sharing comfort from their love and his faith.
It helps that Conklin and Hallman are such darn pleasant company. Hallman is a fine story-teller and through a series of pleasant anecdotes, Conklin and Hallman emerge as a cultured, successful, and charismatic couple living the great Canadian gay dream. The life illustrated in the vignettes from their courtship, their careers, their travels, and their mutual trials seems to have been an enviably content one, lived in a spirit of honesty and unity. Although their happiness accentuates the tragedy of Conklin’s passing, it also illustrates that his life and love, though cut short, were ones that anyone could be proud of.
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