- Title: The Good Doctor
- Author: Damon Galgut
- ISBN: 9780771032738
- Page: 347
- Format: Hardcover
When Laurence Waters arrives at his rural hospital posting in a former homeland of the new South Africa, Frank, a fellow doctor there, 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 meagre staff in the deserted hospital view Laurence with a mixture of awe and miWhen Laurence Waters arrives at his rural hospital posting in a former homeland of the new South Africa, Frank, a fellow doctor there, 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 meagre staff in the deserted hospital view Laurence with a mixture of awe and mistrust The tired, ghostly town beyond the hospital is also coping with new arrivals, and the return of old faces The Brigadier, a self fashioned dictator from apartheid days, is rumoured to be still alive And down at Mama s Place, the town s only watering hole, a group of soldiers have moved in with their malign commandant, a man Frank has met before and is keen to avoid for his own dark reasons Laurence wants to help but in a world where the past is demanding restitution from the present, his ill starred idealism cannot last.
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Here we have four doctors and a male nurse in a small rural hospital in South Africa with no money, tables, spare beds or anything much material, and only one patient. Sounds like a sitcom or tragicomedy at least. But it's not.The head of the hospital, a black female doctor and the male nurse who isn't trained and is a thief with a nasty angle in threats that he may or may not mean, are out to further their own career aims. The other three doctors, all white, are busy screwing either Maria, a ve [...]
IL PASSATO E IL FUTURO SONO LUOGHI PERICOLOSIIl Sudafrica post-apartheid è un paese ancora da costruire.Lo è quando Galgut scrive questo romanzo.Lo è nelle opere di Coetzee che conosco (lo è già meno nei romanzi, più contemporanei di Deon Meyer).In queste pagine ambientate all’inizio del terzo millennio verità e riconciliazione sono una formula di principio, non sostanza: di verità ce n’è poca, e la riconciliazione è un obiettivo da raggiungere.Il confine tra bene e male è sottile [...]
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.Following two men working in a rural, near-deserted South African hospital, Damon Galgut's The Good Doctor is an ambiguous story, in which nothing happens, and everything happens; a book of thick and palpable atmosphere. Frank Eloff is the long-established deputy director of the hospital, perpetually waiting for a step upwards to the top spot, a move that has been repeatedly promised, but never quite happens. At the beginning of the story, a new j [...]
Doctor # 1 is old school, with nostalgia for the good old days of Apartheid. He made much money with a side television gig. He jokes that he could work for a black, as long as the black wasn’t a woman. His fourth wife, the much younger Valerie, feigns outrage.Doctor # 2 is the black woman Doctor # 1 would not, hypothetically, work for. She runs the medical outpost that is the focus of this novel. It is under-supplied and barely functioning. A nurse is found to be stealing what few supplies the [...]
Frank Eloff and Laurence Waters, two doctors of different generations, different personalities, and opposing perspectives, are thrown together - sharing a room - when the younger, Laurence, joins the small medical team in a dilapidated hospital in a remote part of South Africa. Damon Galgut, award winning South African author, builds his intense and thought provoking novel around these two opposing characters, their different approaches to the challenges facing the hospital and its community, an [...]
It's taken me over a week, but I have uprated this to four stars. When I finished the initial reading, I was left feeling distinctly confused. The two main characters are in such diametric opposition to each other, one naive, fresh, young, enthusiastic and active, the other jaded, cynical, apathetic and world-weary, that I decided they must be representatives of a type rather than complex personalities with complete psychologies and back stories. And, swayed by the title, I assumed that active a [...]
Excellent novel. The major fault is that it arrived after "Disgrace", J. M. Coetzee's masterpiece. Both novels look at the current political and racial problems of South Africa through the lens of the individual. Both novels have a divorced male protagonist seeking a solution for the problem of sex. While David Lurie, Coetzee's protagonist, falls out of grace due to his sexual impulses, Frank, Galgut's hero, finds in them a secret emancipation. Both protagonists are on the verge of cynical and b [...]
I could only diminish the impact of this book by describing it. Suffice to say one English reviewer said it should have won the Booker - it was merely shortlisted alongside Oryx and Crake - and whilst I have not read the winner of that year, it must be a darn good book.Rest here:alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres
4.25 stars.This story takes place in the immediate post Apartheid period.The place is a remote village in the northern border of the "Homelands" of South Arica.Setting is a rural community Hospital which is in ruins and is facing a threat of shutdown.Dr. Lawrence Waters is a young, idealistic, white doctor who comes there on his own volition to do good to the people.Dr. Frank has been working there for past 7 years, and is slightly disconsolate. He was called there to head the hospital, on the w [...]
Who IS the eponymous “good doctor?” Is it Laurence Waters, the idealist, naïve, committed new physician who is primed to make some waves in a threadbare, mostly deserted hospital in post-apartheid South Africa? Or is it Frank Eloff, the disenchanted current doctor in self-exile and who is far more in touch with the realities of the area?In some ways, it is both: these two men become inexorably connected. Laurence Waters arrives on the scene as a result of a new South African law which requi [...]
Giving Dead Flowers to AfricansDamon Galgut's novel about post-Apartheid South Africa is compelling all the way through, but there is one relatively minor incident in the middle that gripped me immediately. The narrator, Frank Eloff, a doctor at a run-down hospital in the bush, goes for a brief visit to the city, where he stays with his father, a much more successful man. There is a vase of flowers on the mantel that is beginning to turn brown, and the father asks his fourth wife Valerie to have [...]
Ah, the classic good vs. evil conflict. There is a good, idealistic doctor and a bad, self-destructive doctor who is doing nothing but treading water in his life. They meet, they befriend each other, they have conflicts, they have huge blowup arguments, and each permanently affects the course of the other's life.I'm not typically a fan of good vs. evil stories because they tend to be so overly simplistic (this is why I dislike most movies). And this was not overly simplistic, so I appreciated th [...]
I've a new favorite writer: the South African Damon Galgut. "The Good Doctor" is disturbing, taut and compelling. As in his earlier novel, "The Quarry," Galgut has written a novel that explores the climate of post-apartheid So. Africa, but this novel takes on psychology, friendship, politics, and black-white relations in a less oblique and more satisfying manner (albeit less experimentally). The narrator is both likable and not; the novel explores the complexities of character and relationships [...]
The end of the year might be four months off, but Damon Galgut’s The Good Doctor is certainly going to be on my list of favourite reads for 2015. I read it over the course of a couple of days, but every time I put the book down, I kept thinking about it, and now, a fortnight later, the characters and the story still remain with me — the sign of an exceptionally good novel.First published in 2003, The Good Doctor is set in the “new” post-apartheid South Africa. It tells the story of Frank [...]
This book is hauntingly well written. It is about the two different personalities , Laurence Waters, the new, energetic doctor who lives on the grand ideals of duty and righteousness, and Frank, the older army veteran whose moral compass quivers in the grey of history's frenzy. It is also as much about periods of transition, and how reluctant the past is in giving way to the new, to "change and innovation," as Dr Ngema puts it. It is interesting to think that Frank and Laurence are the same man, [...]
“The past and the future are dangerous countries; I had been living in no man’s land, between their borders, for the last seven years.”Desolation, friendship, idealism: the story is simple but it is full of complex undertows.“Why? Is that too real for you? Ideas are always better than reality, of course. But sooner or later the real world always wins.”There are two sides to everything one does – there are two sides to every coin. Life is an ambiguous thing…“Everything is politics [...]
One of the blurbs had the term “Hippocratic Sloth” and I loved the term to describe this book! The book is a lesson in using understatements to deliver a powerful story.Set at the cusp of New South Africa after the apartheid era, the book looks at different attitudes to change at a community hospital in an ex-homeland capital. Without supplies and hardly any patients the structure with its people exists as a resigned vestige of the old world.Till an optimistic new white doctor comes in for t [...]
Originally published on my blog here in March 2004.During the apartheid regime in South Africa, the regions set aside as "homelands" were supposed to be some kind of showcase for the idea that there was some measure of freedom for black people. (The phrase used was "self-determination for native peoples".) Even then, they generally seem to have been rather sad places; the South African government used some of the less appealing land in the country for the homelands, much like the land provided b [...]
I read this when it was on the Booker Prize shortlist (2005?). It's a while ago now so I don't remember the details except that it was a different perspective on the 'new' South Africa after the initial euphoria and optimism had diminished a bit. Galgut is a fine writer, I recently read his The Impostor and it was great.
Whilst this novel may be sparse and dry to some, it had me completely captivated. No big words or cheap page turning tricks. Just a simple story, slowly unwound, and a protagonist left blinded and isolated by his own ideals.
Thought provoking book about a doctor in South Africa.
Galgut’s novel is a powerful portrait of a post-Apartheid South Africa stumbling towards an uncertain future. The book reminded me strongly of Graham Greene’s novel, “The Quiet American,” where idealism perishes under the pressure of harsh reality.Lawrence is the idealistic, white, young, “good doctor” who has come to a remote medical outpost situated in a former Bantustan, a facility short on supplies, medical personnel and patients. He believes in duty above all else, in telling th [...]
You know there will be no happy ending when the opening line is 'The first time I saw him I thought, he won't last.' The first two pages are full of words like - tall, thin, dusty, empty, frail, wilting, burden of leaves, ragged trees, basic standard issue, ugly, austere - and the best one of all which sums up the whole mood of the book - bleak. What a writer this man is. From beginning to end the reader is taken on slowly unwinding spool of inevitable tragedy. Danger and a sense of foreboding i [...]
Damon Galgut has an exceptional quality to pierce your mind with his writing. Every word from him embodies a listlessness, but the whole still comes together to make you nervous with thought and a latent madness. There were times when I thought Galgut was articulating my mind, and that is just not in this book, but more so in his other remarkable work - In a Strange Room.The prose in this book is beautiful and fluid - perhaps that is a South African quality (though sometimes I struggle with Gord [...]
Sketching the picture of a scanitly provided for hospital and the dilemmas of a doctor working there, the book is very much like Graham Greene's 'The Burnt out case'. It presents the story of a doctor who is apparently running away from the troubles of his life. Frank tries to find refuge in a rural hospital where he hopes to forget his own troubles while solving those of others. However, when he joins his postion, the conditions are in total contrast to what he'd expected - he has unknowingly c [...]
The Good Doctor tells the story of two doctors who are almost exact opposites of each other. Lawrence arrives at the hospital in South Africa full of passion and optimism. He wants to make a difference in other peoples lives. Frank has been there for years and is rather pessimistic about the human condition. He is horrified by the fact that he has to share a room with Lawrence. They are an unlikely paring with Frank stubbonly refusing to become Lawrence's friend due to circumstances that have oc [...]
This is the second book I’ve read by Damon Galgut and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. The story of the doctors take place in a desolate rural hospital in the middle the former homeland in South Africa. You can feel the bleakness of this locale, the isolation and the loneliness. Galgut allows the reader to feel these things. His words flow effortlessly…and it is words like this, that make me admire this author…“She bent over the papers again and the conversation slipped out of sig [...]
Damon Galgut, who wrote his first book when he was seventeen, has a literary style that does not suit the thriller genre. You have two men in a deserted hospital, and Maria in a shack on the outskirts of town. Mama's Bar features. The Commandant is a figure from the past. Confused? You should be. Add more soldiers, neglected gardens, ghostly houses and the disappearance of wounded medical staff. This eerie novel is actually tedious. However, it is beautifully written and will probably be nominat [...]
A fascinating character study of the relationship between two doctors in rural South Africa - one of whom is bright-eyed and naive, the other of whom is jaded and cynical - in the post-Apartheid era. Although at first it seems perfectly clear who the good doctor is, the novel progressively complicates this question. I was particularly interested in reading this novel because I've started some research on my own great grandfather, who was a doctor in a Japanese-Canadian Internment camp during Wor [...]
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