Synopses & Reviews
"Henry Bale, a middle-aged and roughly handsome English gravedigger, has lived in the small town of Chalk his entire life. Following in his father's footsteps, he is a reliable and stoic digger of graves and has lived the first half of his life as though half asleep. His only companion, a Jack Russell terrier, dies at the opening of this novel, surprising Henry with the hole the small dog's absence leaves in his life. Painfully shy, Henry has few friends and no romantic interests until Caroline Ford, a young and attractive elementary-school teacher, breezes into town from the larger, neighboring city of Brighton. Caroline's presence turns the whole town of Chalk on its head, and a staggering and surprising romance ignites between her and Henry. A story of love and loss, this novel is part romance and part coming-of-age tale for a middle-aged man. Henry emerges from his shell as Caroline's presence awakens his passion for his own life. The somewhat laborious pace of the novel mimics the character’s own ponderousness in this genuine and evocative read." Julie Hunt, Booklist
The gravedigger Henry Bale lives with his ailing dog in the village of Chalk, England. Painfully shy, he is resigned to growing old alone. Then Caroline Ford, an impulsive schoolteacher from Brighton, arrives in Chalk. Caroline awakens Henry to life, and to a fear of death. Their relationship becomes a startling investigation of love, faith, and the search for meaning.