The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut

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In this gorgeously written, compellingly eerie new novel, Damon Galut offers a visceral portrait of South Africa at the crossroads of change. Young, idealistic Dr. Laurence Waters arrives at his new post in a rural hospital in South Africa only to find a dusty postcard of the past. He requested the assignment with hopes that he might make a difference in the desolate outpost, but the hospital is running on fumes: Any serious ailment is exported to larger city facilities, there is barely enough funding for staff, and the facility is too far off the beaten path to be affected by change. Laurence shares a room with the head doctor, Frank Eloff, a burned-out, disaffected hulk of a man who is both resentful of his young roommate's optimism and moved by his awkward charm. Laurence determinedly forms a friendship with his elder colleague, against all of Frank's natural instincts. But Laurence's eager desire to affect change and his firm belief in his moral duty as a doctor are at direct odds with the changing regime and the violence that prevails outside the hospital; and although Frank is temporarily buoyed by his young charge's enthusiasm, the hopes of both men come crashing down, as the harsh reality of their surroundings quashes their falsely idyllic dreams. Inviting comparisons to the work of Graham Greene and J. M. Coetzee, Galut's novel vividly captures the voice of a stranger in a strange land -- an outsider fleeing his own life who struggles to understand his adopted cultural surroundings and, in so doing, succeeds only in wreaking disaster.

About Damon Galgut

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Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was seventeen. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor and The Impostor. The Good Doctor, published in 2003, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Dublin/IMPAC Award and was published in eighteen countries. Damon Galgut lives in Cape Town.  
Published October 7, 2014 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc.. 224 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Good Doctor

Kirkus Reviews

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Laurence, an idealist bent on doing well, soon convinces Dr. Ngema, but not Frank, whose own ideals were lost while serving in the apartheid army, to set up clinics in the villages.

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The Guardian

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The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut Atlantic Books £10.99, pp240 If it wasn't for the beauty of its author's prose, this might be a profoundly depressing novel.

Sep 21 2003 | Read Full Review of The Good Doctor

The Guardian

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The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut 215pp, Atlantic Books, £10.99 Damon Galgut has written a parable which turns on a question crucial to South African life: who has been lying to whom - about politics, about change, about hope, about past and future?

Sep 20 2003 | Read Full Review of The Good Doctor

Publishers Weekly

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Determined to revivify the rural hospital—and more broadly, South Africa—which has slipped into humdrum dysfunction, Laurence tests Frank's stifled sensibilities and challenges hospital director Dr. Ngema, who frequently quips that she is all for "change and innovation," even though she cannot ab...

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Star Tribune

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He has a chipper demeanor toward Frank's black superior, is open and friendly to the surly black nurse.

Dec 27 2003 | Read Full Review of The Good Doctor

The Sunday Times

Atlantic Books £10.99 pp224 Damon Galgut ought to pay some of his adjectives double wages.

Sep 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The Good Doctor

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