A Mistake – Carl Shuker

READ FOR NZ BOOK AWARDS

A surgeon is investigated after the death of a patient.

✚ “I have to preface this by saying it’s been at least six months since I read A Mistake. I bought it after reading numerous positive reviews. I remember the feelings of hope, deep unease and sadness while reading it and all this time later I honestly feel ill as I recall various parts of the plot (and I’m not referring to any of the medical procedures).

“I have worked in DHBs before and seen and heard about all kinds of things that shouldn’t really be happening so maybe this all felt just a bit too close to home. There is a discomfort in knowing the same person who saved your life during surgery could be highly fallible in other situations, medical or otherwise. I’m in the odd situation of agreeing with the positive reviews of The Mistake but not really enjoying it myself. ” – Suzy

✚ “In the book a doctor is accused of mis-adventure after a patient dies. The ensuing investigations are a compelling analysis of accountability in a human-risk and human-fault laden aspect of life. The work ethic of surgeon Liz Taylor and her personal life are examined and played off against each other nicely. She is a professional surgeon with an extraordinary reputation, though her personal life was slightly chaotic. This created an interesting character and a compelling plot, but I did feel that Liz was stereotyped to disprove a stereotype, ie because she was a woman she had to be not a good but a phenomenal surgeon, and, also because she was a woman, she had to be a little bit neurotic. Maybe I’m overthinking it … anyway it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story of her troubled personal life nor appreciating the questions Shuker raises about culpability in the medical world.” – Rachel

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Published 2019
Counterpoint
192 pages

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