Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Children's Hospital, by Chris Adrian

I've been reading a ton lately, and got behind on my blogging about books. So I'm just going to start fresh with the book I just finished--Chris Adrian's amazing and bizarre and 615-page The Children's Hospital. The world is suddenly buried under seven feet of water--except for a children's hospital, and the inhabitants of the hospital are suddenly the only people left living: the doctors and residents and medical students; the patients, of course, and their parents and siblings if their parents or siblings were with them in the hospital that night; the nurses; the few other random people who happened to be there: the tamale lady, a volunteer, a custodian.

This is a hospital for very sick children, so there are a lot of rare and strange diseases. However, about two hundred and fifty pages in, Jemma, one of the medical students, develops the ability to heal the children. She heals them all, leaving the adults without their roles, and the children without their illnesses, which have been their roles up until now, many of them for their whole lives.

There is an angel.

Then--okay, no spoilers. But a lot happens in this book. I was thoroughly engrossed, all the way through.

Adrian is a pediatrician, in addition to an award-winning, Iowa-graduate writer. He's also now attending Harvard's Divinity School, of course.

I really liked this interview with him, maybe especially the fact that he cut about 400 pages from The Children's Hospital (since I'm dealing with cutting my own novel down myself right now!):  In the interview, he talks a little bit about being gay--I loved reading this book by a gay writer that is not a Gay Book. Speaking of, I recently read Quarantine by Rahul Mehta, and I loved those stories too--also a book by a gay writer that isn't a Gay Book. I've read a lot of good stuff lately--I've been enjoying reading contemporary fiction written for adults, something I don't seem to do so much of.

So, put Adrian's other books on hold at the library. More on him to follow, I'm sure.