A retired professor and the main character of the story. Although Grant is easily distracted by other women, throughout the story he is fundamentally drawn to his wife, Fiona. 

Read an in-depth analysis of Grant.


Grant’s wife, a beautiful and charismatic woman who takes pride in her appearance and loves to joke. She has dementia and lives in Meadowlake, an assisted living facility, where Grant visits her.

Read an in-depth analysis of Fiona.


A man Fiona becomes close to while living at Meadowlake. A former salesman, Aubrey has difficulty walking and speaking following an illness with a high fever.  


The wife of Aubrey, a capable and practical woman who cares for her disabled husband at home rather than the assisted living facility, as she can’t afford it.


A nurse at Meadowlake who gives Grant detailed reports on Fiona’s life there. 

Jacqui Adams

A married student with whom Grant had an affair. 

Fiona’s Mother

An Icelandic woman with a passionate belief in her far-left politics.

Fiona’s Father

A respected cardiologist who is subservient to his wife at home. 

Mr. Farquhar

An elderly neighbor of Grant and Fiona’s who moves to Meadowlake a few years before the action of the story. 


A Meadowlake employee who explains the rules and warns Grant about Fiona’s deteriorating health after Aubrey leaves.