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, and, fundamentally, their contrasting beliefs of what is “good”, moral and ethical.
When he was six years old, Galgut was diagnosed with cancer, a trauma which he has described as “the central, cataclysmic event of my life”. He fell very ill, and spent long stretches of his childhood in hospital. His love of storytelling developed at this time as he lay convalescing in his hospital bed, listening to relatives reading stories to him.