Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Children's Hospital

As we get up to speed with our new blog, you'll find some older reviews posted here, like the following from December of 2006. Luckily, the books are still good five months later...

Chris Adrian's The Children's Hospital is one of those rare books that is able to keep the reader both entranced and surprised page after page. It is a story of a hospital, adrift in a second deluge, its doctors, patients, families, and staff the last humans on Earth. While this premise seems to be more in line with speculative fiction, Adrian is able to keep the story human and intimate at all points. His unique background in both medicine and divinity likely makes him the sole person to be able to successfully tell such a magical and convincing tale.

Do not be scared by the number of pages or the immensity of the topic; this book is a joy to read and moves quickly and efficiently. In the human moments, centered on the sympathetic and brave Dr. Gemma Claflin, the reader is swept along by both the humor of everyday life in the floating hospital and the despair and gradiosity of the circumstance. And while Adrian does not shy away from the larger questions inherent in the premise, he addresses them subtly and through the actions and thoughts of his characters. Theology is tertiary to fascinating human experience and great storytelling.

The Children's Hospital is a very special book that I believe will be noted for its beauty and ingenuity. Be one of the first to enjoy this somewhat under-the-radar gem.

Here's another review from Taylor at our Bay View shop:

"The earth is submerged beneath seven miles of water. Four angels oversee the apocalypse. The hospital, for the thousand or so patients, doctors and families populating it, becomes their Noah’s Ark. Nowhere near as preposterous as the concept sounds, Chris Adrian handles his characters and the subject matter so masterfully that you believe every word; you can’t help but fall in love with Jemma in the first fifteen pages. Astonishingly beautiful and unsettling, poetic in it’s telling, and frequently profound without becoming pretentious, The Children’s Hospital is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read."

Chris Adrian's first novel is Gob's Grief, set during the Civil War and featuring Pickie Beecher and a re-animation machine powered by the body of poet Walt Whitman. Intrigued? Me, too. And, it's available in paperback.


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