Set in a declining textile town in North Carolina, Hide is the love story of Wendell Wilson, a taxidermist, and Frank Clifton, a veteran of World War II. They fall in love after the war, in a time when such love holds real danger. But, severing nearly all ties with the rest of the world, they carve out a home for themselves on the far outskirts of town and for decades the routine of self-reliant domesticity–Wendell’s cooking, Frank’s care for a yard no one sees, and the vicarious dramas of courtroom TV–seems to protect them.
But when Wendell finds Frank lying motionless outside at the age of eighty-three, their carefully crafted life together begins to unravel. As Frank’s physical strength deteriorates and his memory dissolves, Wendell struggles in vain to keep him healthy and to hold onto the man he once knew, until, faced with giving care beyond his capacity, he must come to terms with the consequences of half a century in seclusion, the sacrifices they made for each other, and the different lives they might have lived—and most especially the impending, inexorable loss of the one they had.
Impossibly tender, gently funny, and gorgeously rendered, Hide is a singularly powerful debut.