Two married women who work at a hospice for the terminally ill become obsessed with strange men – one with a local "wild boy," the other with a foreign architect. A young man living at the hospice completes the circle by forming a sensual relationship with a visiting Scandinavian woman. The first woman abandons her family for her lover, but the liaison ends in tragedy. The second woman becomes pregnant, but cannot prevent her French lover from going away. The Women withdraw into their memories and fantasies. One becomes a compulsive eater, the other is lost in her dream life. The young man pines for the departed visitor. The three seek change, even salvation, which brings them to the edge of the abyss.
The Healing Place is a rare miracle, because it differs from almost anything else that is being written here at the moment. Leal's novel is a distilled essence of feelings, colors and sights. On the one hand, there is immense scope and power; on the other, the entire novel is concentrated into what happens in one place among particular people.
Excerpt available in English translation (for publishers only)