In A Dignified Exit, Monroe is a painter living in rural Texas with a devastating secret. Rather than burden his aging small-town friends, he makes the decision to take this secret with him to Mexico and live out the rest of his life alone.
He leaves behind an ailing adult son, Robert, who spurns him one last time before Monroe goes, and an angry ex-wife who isn’t too sorry to see him gone.
Despite this, the reader learns to like Monroe, who seems a bit lost in his personal life, but determined and competent as he makes the move to Mexico.
His plans to stay alone are very quickly changed when he can’t help but intervene in a fight between a young couple that earns him a bloody nose. The girl, Angelina, ends up destitute and abandoned in Mexico. Monroe decides to take her in so she can earn wages as his help to get back to the States.
The story has commercial undertones but a literary feel, so that the pacing never suffers under the weight of the beauty of looking at the world through Monroe’s artist eyes. We might linger on a meal, or a scene to be painted, but the story still moves as Monroe’s son comes to visit, tragedy inserts itself, and some of Mexico’s unusual citizens become players in Monroe’s drama.
As Monroe’s secret unravels and his relationship with Angelina spirals into something neither of them expected, Monroe and the reader will be reminded that any of us can find salvation through love, even when it is almost, but not entirely, too late.
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