In 1989 Jane Morse’s husband, Mick, tells her he has AIDS and, as Clark writes, Jane suddenly suspects that her long marriage has been a lie. A reader may at first keep reading this 29-installment series—each piece designed to be read over a quick cup of morning coffee—in pursuit of intrigue. But before long, Clark has effectively raised larger issues surrounding AIDS, death and dying, and social attitudes toward homosexuality. By the end we care about the series’ characters and better understand the social context in which their lives played out.

Clark’s reporting consists largely of reconstruction; he relied on interviews with Mick Morse’s children, with Jane and others. He also visited the sites where much of the series’ action takes place. The series received lots of response and has become a classic journalistic narrative.

Read “Three Little Words,” by Roy Peter Clark

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