Final Negotiations

A Story of Love, Loss, and Chronic Illness

Carolyn Ellis
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-271-6
Publication: Jan 95

HC: $90.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-270-9
Publication: Jan 95

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0498-5

368 pages
6 x 9

A poignant memoir about what it means to be involved—and in love—with someone who is chronically ill

Read Chapter 1 and an excerpt from Chapter 2 (pdf).


When Carolyn Ellis, a graduate student, and Gene Weinstein, her Professor, fell in love, he was experiencing the first stages of emphysema. As he became increasingly disabled and immobile, these two intensely connected partners fought to maintain their love and to live a meaningful life. They learned to negotiate their daily lives in a way that enabled each of them to feel sufficiently autonomous—him not always like a patient and her not always like a caretaker. Writing as a sociologist, Ellis protrays their life together as a way to understand the complexities of romance, of living with a progressive illness, and, in the final negotiation and reversal of positions, of coping with the loss of a loved one.

This rare memoir full of often raw details and emotions becomes an intimate conversation about the intricacies of feeling and relating in a relationship. What Ellis calls experimental ethnography is a finely crafted, forthright, and daring story framed by the author's reflections on writing about and analyzing one's own life. Casting off the safe distance of most social science inquiry, she surrenders the private shroud of a complex relationship to bring sociology closer to literature.

Table of Contents

1. Beginning
2. Negotiating Attachment
3. Negotiating Stability and Change
4. Negotiating Loss
5. Negotiating the Story
6. Endings

About the Author(s)

Carolyn Ellis is Professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida, Director of the Institute for Interpretive Human Studies, and author of several books, including Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience (co-edited with Michael Flaherty).


In the Series

  • Health, Society, and Policy edited by Sheryl Ruzek and Irving Kenneth Zola

    No longer active. Health, Society and Policy, edited by Sheryl Ruzek and Irving Kenneth Zola, takes a critical stance with regard to health policy and medical practice, ranging broadly in subject matter. Backlist titles include books on the legal and professional status of midwifery, the experience and regulation of kidney transplants, the evolution of federal law on architectural access, and a political/ethical argument for making the community responsible for universal access to health care.