Skip to main content

The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut



Well it's been some time. While my reading has been erratic (but adequate), my blogging has been reduced to a once-in-a-month do. But then who am I kidding ?! This isn't my first AWOL situation !

First things first. In the nooks and crannies of my choc-a-bloc weekdays and stuffed weekends, I managed to finish The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut. It's a short book and the economy of words justifies the taut story-telling of Galgut. Meaning, it should not have taken me a month to digest the book, but sadly, it did.
Courtesy: http://www.goodreads.com/
The Good Doctor is based in a lawless hinterland of South Africa where apathy is the best way to survive. In a slightly uncomfortable realisation, it becomes evident that indifference is not always the worst thing around. The incumbent doctor Frank Eloff and a handful of other doctors man a derelict hospital. Frank is already too careworn to bother about anything by the time he took position at the hospital, which is suddenly ruffled by the arrival of a young, boy-scout of a doctor - Lawrence Waters, brimming with unripe ideals and an unquenchable eagerness to do good. Waters is everything that Frank isn't and is ashamed of for not being, and the two strike an unlikely friendship.

But life isn't so black and white. Frank takes off for a few days, only to return to a changed order. He is not very sure if this change - a direct outcome of the zealousness of Waters - bodes well. And soon enough, the uncomfortable alien situation spirals discretely into a calamity. Like a storm, it leaves in its wake the tangled  debris of stunted lives and chaos, and the promise of the old apathy. The definition of good seems incomplete.

It does sound all depressing and doomed and all that, but the book does not always resonate that helplessness (otherwise I would have dropped it midway). I guess the trick was to keep everything so factual, that like living our own lives, the emotional impact of everyday unfairness becomes blunted.

I am not depressed. I assure you !

Anyway, besides reading, I went on a camping trip to Bhandardara. This was a first for me and boy, was it awesome ! The highlight of the trip was lying on our backs, a little way up the shores of the crystal clear lake that reflected the moonlight, and gazing up at the millions of stars ! Everyone says I'm bluffing but true to God, I saw three shooting stars too !




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 books to read when you are depressed

Books are handy weapons to stave off blues - be it the dregs of the Sunday evening or a nasty bout of flu. When you are depressed, it takes herculean efforts to shake off the feeling. And I'm not even talking about the more severe, clinical form of depression. I can't get myself to pour myself a glass of water the day after Diwali; on Fridays on the other hand, I am the epitome of eternal sunshine. For such moody, dull days, these top 10 books are the surest way to dust a little sparkle in your life.
1) Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog): This is Jerome K. Jerome at his absolute best. It was published some 130 years back and is still capable of eliciting raucous laughter. It is the honest journal of three young, bumbling flatmates and their dog on a river cruise. Look out for some meandering, pedantic pages, but they offer some relief from the relentless humour. 
2) James Herriot'sDog Stories: If you love animals (and dogs, in particular), this is the ultimate…

List#1 The Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From

So I stumbled across this blog The Broke and the Bookish quite by chance (actually I was going through another brilliant blog Fourth Street Review, which led me to TBB). They have an interesting section for Top Tens, and this time it was The Top Ten Authors I've Read The Most Books From. I'm not sure if I can name ten, but let's see here...



Alistair MacLean: Give me a warm-hearted, yet cold-demeanoured, taciturn, multifaceted gentleman, who is also a juggler with words, and a plot set in a crippled ship in hostile waters or a ice-floe or on ragged mountains, and the only other thing I'll ask for is a cup of tea to read it with.

James Herriot: I love animals. Enough said. No, but really, Herriot is the reason I took Library as my preferred choice of 'activity' at school.

John le Carre: God, its depressing to read a le Carre. But its right up there with MacLean. There's something hypnotic about his work and there have been phases when I've read nothing but …

I am currently reading...

The Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. This is proving to be a very empowering read, which I believe was the whole point of the book anyway. For those judge a book by its cover (which is also pretty badass), it really doesn't seem to even skirt the edges of feminism. At its crudest, it is a collection of stories and their analyses to help rediscover what it means to be a woman. If it sounds redundant, then it goes to show howo much we need this book. 
I must say, books of this kind are not up my alley. It feels too verbose (even by my standards) and the bluntness induced by my utter worldly view of things makes it really difficult for me to penetrate the exuberance of being a woman, as noted in the book. I am just three chapters down, so it wouldn't possibly be wise to quote a favourite right now, but La Loba seems very ethereal. The whole concept of some force (our own, presumably) that can join broken, littered pieces, is deeply appealing. 
Newspapers a…