As a healthcare provider himself, Turker’s experience in the American healthcare system shines throughout, both in memorable incidental detail and surprising-but-convincing plot points that center on the shark-like nature of donors or patients whose hateful natures demand healthcare providers work doubly hard on their bedside manners. One scene finds Marty giving care to a neo-Nazi, and discovering that his conception of the Hippocratic oath has limits; meanwhile, a bishop is eager to “rid St. Salacious of Marty’s ‘taco-crowd’ have-nots, [and] Sister Catherine’s meddlesome oversight.” This sometimes dark material is handled a fiery wit that keeps the pages turning.
Turker’s own compassion powers the novel, the satire more outraged than outrageous. As he faces religious fervor, bigotry, and good old-fashioned greed in a succession of compelling scenes with whip-smart dialogue, Marty becomes one of the rare voices of compassion and courage in a system that consistently has cared more about the dollar value than the care provided. As Marty becomes a catalyst for change, readers of thoughtful literary fiction, no matter their faith or lack thereof, will find this polished novel’s observations darkly comforting—eventually even hopeful—in the face of rising intolerance and a national health crisis.
Takeaway: Stellar novel of a Jewish doctor bringing change to a corrupt Catholic hospital.
Comparable Titles: Yan Lianke’s Heart Sutra, Kyle Bradford Jones’s Hospital!.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A