CLIVE WEARING STARES INTO SPACE. But the moment his wife, Doborah, enters the room, his face lights up, and he springs to his feet. He pulls Deborah to him, then whirls her around, sending her strawberry-blond curls flying. “You’re gorgeous. I adore you.” It is exactly what he says each time he sees her. “Isn’t she lovely?” he asks, kissing Deborah’s hands as she giggles.

Minutes later, when Deborah steps away, the light goes out of Clive’s blue eyes. “Somebody told me my wife is here,” he says worriedly, “but I’ve never seen her. I’ve never seen a human being for 20 years. I’ve never seen anything, heard anything. Days and nights are exactly the same. Precisely like death. I’d like to be alive.”

[ . . . ]