Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sickness-Alberto Barrera Tyszka

La Enfermedad (Sickness)-Alberto Barrera Tyszka

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 151
gender: M
nationality: Venezuela
year: 2006
Novel in Spanish

Dr. Miranda is faced with a tragedy: his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has only a few weeks to live. He is also faced with a dilemma: How does one tell his father he is dying?

The main bread and butter of this intense novella is the tragic story of Dr. Miranda who has to tell his father he will die soon. The father and son dynamic and relationship was pitch perfect. There's an inherent awkwardness with the soon to die and its awkwardness tempered with confusion because no matter how much you love the person you never know what to say and do. I wonder if Barrera has lost his father because so much echoed my own experience...which made this a bit difficult to read for me. It's all done beautifully though in flowing prose and literary intelligence that remains not overly intellectual. This is a novella exploring our ideas about mortality.

Intertwined with Dr. Miranda's dilemma of dealing with cancer and his father is the story of one of his hypochondriac patients, Ernesto, and his secretary. This is also a story of lonely people who get wrapped up in compassion and see in each other reflections of themselves.

I read this in Spanish because I picked this up at random from the library's tiny Spanish section but I imagine the writing could translate nicely into a clear English prose.

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