Callous characters, I thought at that point of my reading, but at that point, the story hadn't broken my heart. Not yet. Into the once-magical bedroom ("twenty small glass prisms") of the disillusioned couple comes their son, a six years old, Mark. He's regressed to sucking his thumb. And Amy narrates how J.D. lost his own wife and son. Then she tells a story about Tucker's obsessions and anxieties, and she reveals that Freddy is gay. She says, "All those moments, and all they meant was that I was fooled into thinking I knew these people because I knew the small things, the personal things."
Is Beattie taunting us? Tempting us to believe that we are going to "know" something about people and then saying that we have been fooled? The ending of the story combines bleakness with surprise. Tragic magic. It tries to convince me that men are so different from women. But does the story really mean it? Maybe this is just Frank, getting back at his wife.