William Addams is dying. Controlling, mercurial, and estranged from his family, he is consumed by the fear that he'll be abandoned by Henry and Susan, his closest friends, the only people on whom he can rely.
What he wants is for their faithfulness to last until they take him home to his beloved house to die. But as William's condition worsens, it becomes apparent that his expectations of devotion and loyalty involve not simply a loving commitment but the virtual handing over of his friends' vitality and independence; indeed, William covets their very lives.
Filled with penetrating insights and dazzling beauty, Walking on Air explores the shadowy, often disturbing parameters of devotion, demonstrating its inevitable limits as well as its astounding powers of transformation.
About the Author
R.S. Jones wrote Force of Gravity and Walking on Air, and was a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award. He was president of the New York chapter of the ACT UP AIDS Awareness Organization, and editor in chief and vice president of HarperCollins Publishers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was one of the most depressing books I've ever read, coming in only second to "The Diary of Anne Frank". It's about a terminally ill man and how a couple of his closest friends come to terms with his illness, their friendship, and the way his expectations of his friends affected them all. Graphically following the course of his illness, and the changes he goes through as his disease slowly kills him, this novel draws you in but yet at the same time makes you want to turn away in revulsion...exactly the same way his friends felt as they watched this man slowly die. The ill man, William, has AIDS, and the descriptive way the progression of his disease is presented is extremely disturbing. The book seemed a bit disjointed in the beginning, and throughout the book, the characters seemed rather one-dimensional to me, but that may have been what the author was after....after all, it was all about William, and William and his disease is what more or less consumed the days and nights of his two friends.Near the end, Henry learns of a betrayal that nearly divides his friendship with William asunder, and Henry struggles with his own feelings of pain, trying to decide whether to return to William's side or turn away completely.I came away from this book with a greater understanding of the depths of friendship, and how it can be shaken or strengthened when that friendship is threatened by terminal illness. A very difficult subject matter and a very difficult book to read.