"He wasn't much cut out for serious conversations. And a goodbye is a serious conversation."
OK, for 125 pages I'm reading this thinking, "three stars, nice little story, fast read; wish more novelists could tell a sweeping romantic adventure tale with such dispatch. Vivid, enjoyable, and even educational, but no great shakes."
And then I get to the end, and realize the power of the wife's desire. What she does. How he realizes what she did, and how she had felt. How she knew about his inner life, and didn't want to be a surrogate. Goddamn it hit me hard. Made me cry, it did.
I'm trying to say why it was good without being too specific and giving much away.