Long ago his mother had routinely cleaned the windows of the family home to invisibility. But the glass had shut him away nevertheless, a fading print of a boy, a creature as flat and boneless as the paper animals taped on the plaster. The symptoms of chronic disease had excluded him from the world outside-and the world inside, created from books piled high in the sickroom provided small compensation for his expected death. Only the vast histories of human conflict were a consolation. His reading and rereading of them intensified the enmity that nourished his remaining strength. Or that's what he chose to remember as he looked down on the quiet street below.
In The Second Law of Dying, the ghostly presence of Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer lays out the map of moral choices for Dr. Hugo Haultain as he grinds his way through the abyss of degradation that poisons his life. Across several continents and ending in Schweitzer's remote African hospital, varying and inevitable circumstances give the notorious and depleted Dr. Haultain the daily option of turning violently on the world-or not.