Like most of you I'm an avid reader. I'm hoping to re-connect with old friends, make new friends, and of course spread the love of reading and writing around to everyone!
I received an uncorrected proof of this book in English from Blogging For Books, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
First of all, let me just get this off of my chest: This book is unsettling and uncomfortable to read at times. However, it did keep my interest from beginning to end. Let me explain.
The story is narrated by Marc Schlosser, a family Doctor, practicing in the Netherlands. He is an unreliable narrator to the max. The reader picks up on this from the beginning, especially when he says things like:
I am a doctor. I do my best to act interested. I pretend to look.
Lines like this instantly put the relationship between the narrator and reader on edge, and it only gets worse as the story continues, as the reader discovers that none of the characters are who they claim to be. Narcissistic, imperfectly sleazy characters are in abundance in this one, but at the same time, Koch does an interesting thing, in that there's this discussion that takes place throughout the underlying themes - like is modern medicine all it claims to be? Should doctors have the ability to play God? The story also focuses on the lies we tell ourselves, deals with the objectification of young girls, and how as a society we worship the celebrity - all with acerbic wit that as a reader I was never able to figure out where it would take me next. This only added to my horror and surprise as I went along for this wild ride.
Also, I liked that Koch doesn't spell it out. He believes his readers are intelligent (which I LOVE) and expects that with enough linguistic clues and descriptive cues the reader will be able to connect the dots and will figure out the whole picture, which I did, but also this was where the psychological mind-f*ck happened too. Once I finished the book, I couldn't really shake it off. It stayed with me and made me feel weird for about a week.
Let me state here too that my relationship with modern medicine is precarious at best. I've had some good experiences with doctors, but I've also had some extremely bad experiences, that left me thinking: 'there MUST be a better way.'. Also, did you know that doctors and medical mishaps are the third leading cause of death here in the U.S.? They are and it's my personal opinion that as doctors continue to medicate the masses, instead of treating the root cause, it's only going to get worse, and this book did absolutely nothing to alleviate this fear, instead it served to only heighten it. Then again, this is exactly why this book is so good. It makes you think and question, not take everything as status quo, which in my mind makes for excellent literary and life discussions.
So, if you enjoy page turners with psychological and biological suspense mixed in, then I urge you to pick this one up and give it a try. I am interested in hearing what other reviewers think of this one for sure.