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The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut

The Good Doctor (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Damon Galgut

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Title:The Good Doctor
Authors:Damon Galgut
Info:Grove Press (2003), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut (2003)



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South Africa, doctors in remote area with no facilities, ends with not all explained. ( )
  siri51 | Dec 11, 2013 |
Frank is doctor, but the good doctor is Laurence who comes to the remote unnamed African hospital and wants to make changes. Frank is a little inert. He is happy, in his own way, just existing, keeping under the radar and treading water. The hospital barely functions other than to make referrals to the bigger hospital in the next town. Laurence wants to tidy it up, get things moving. He is an idealist. He is only on a one year placement, so intends to get things accomplished.

In this book we learn about Frank. And he is an interesting character. He isnt exactly a nice man, but through some fantastic and restrained writing we learn about him and by applying his own logic we could excuse him for his poor judgement.

"So there was nothing to face up to in the end, except the ridiculous figure that was myself. Heavy, long past his prime, gasping for breath. Standing doubled over in the centre of this deserted theatre, watched only by rotten canvas and rusted barbed wire."

This sums up Frank, really. Yet we are in his head and we want good things for him. We want him to live up to his fathers expectations of him, we want him to find love and be happy and excel in his work. But we know that he has to want this too for him to do anything about his life. 4.5 stars. ( )
2 vote Ireadthereforeiam | Oct 20, 2012 |
Galgut shifts the reader’s opinion of Frank, the narrator as this novel unfolds, and in the end the reader is left uneasy, Frank’s negativity manifesting itself in his callousness, and there also seems to be such a lack of awareness at times, for example calling on Maria when it was clearly bad timing. I’m left wondering what Galgut wants the reader to take from his book. Having read it in one day I haven’t had time to ponder over it – and I think it’s the sort of novel that needs to be thought about. How does the reader come to feel about Laurence? At the start we do share some of the narrator’s scepticism about him but does Frank rise in out eyes?

I was reminded of Coetzee’s ‘Disgrace’, not just because of the South African setting but also by the sense of unease both books conjure up – that and a sense of personal failing and letting down others as well as yourself. While I felt increasingly critical of Frank, I could at the same time recognise the sense of pointlessness he had. I’ll have to revisit this book. ( )
  evening | Oct 6, 2011 |
Set in rural South Africa after the collapse of apartheid, The Good Doctor is a taut narrative that leaves the reader guessing. Frank Eloff is a physician whose vocation is to help people, but he seems incapable of generosity and is suspicious and disdainful of young, outgoing Laurence Waters, who arrives at Frank's delapidated hospital in an isolated outpost town brimming with enthusiasm and new ideas. Laurence wants to improve services and reach out to the local populace. But fear is real, people are slow to change and ghosts from the past haunt the countryside. Frank, self-involved and weighed down with guilt, resists and discourages Laurence's passions. Unwittingly, Laurence places himself in the middle of a military campaign to track down a former dictator. Tragically, his idealism cannot save him. An atmosphere of threat and menace hovers over the entire narrative. Riveting and suspenseful. ( )
1 vote icolford | Aug 6, 2011 |
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'Hundreds of miles of desolate, monotonous, burnt-up steppe cannot induce such deep depression as one man when he sits and talks, and one does not know when he will go on.' Chekhov.
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The first time I saw him I thought, he won't last.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802141692, Paperback)

A finalist for the Man Booker Prize and Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the region of Africa, The Good Doctor is a taut, intense tale of the dashed hopes of the post apartheid era and the small betrayals that doom a friendship. It has been greeted with enthusiastic interest around the world and assures Damon Galgut's place as a major international talent. When Laurence Waters arrives at his new post at a deserted rural hospital, staff physician Frank Eloff is instantly suspicious. Laurence is everything Frank is not—young, optimistic, and full of big ideas. The whole town is beset with new arrivals and the return of old faces. Frank reestablishes a liaison with a woman, one that will have unexpected consequences. A self-made dictator from apartheid days is rumored to be active in cross-border smuggling, and a group of soldiers has moved in to track him, led by a man from Frank's own dark past. Laurence sees only possibilities—but in a world where the past is demanding restitution from the present, his ill-starred idealism cannot last.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:25 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When Laurence Waters arrives at his rural hospital posting, Frank is instantly suspicious. Laurence is everything Frank is not - young, optimistic and full of new schemes. The two become uneasy friends, while the rest of the staff in the deserted hospital view Laurence with a mixture of awe and mistrust.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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