Goldblatt's Descent by Michael Honig

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Goldblatt's Descent by Michael Honig

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Almost a Doctor in the House novel for the 21st century. It's funny while being darker, more cynical, sophisticated and bitingly real to match the era, but there again, aren't we all? Not to be read if you or a loved one is about to go into hospital; best wait till afterwards!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Atlantic Books
ISBN: 978-0857898937

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Dr Malcolm Goldblatt has just started another temporary Senior Registrar's role in yet another hospital. However this time it's different. This is his last attempt to springboard his career into a consultant's grade. Whether he succeeds or not depends on so many factors: his two-faced, murderously ambitious colleague, the patients and Fuertler's Syndrome, a condition that may be obscure and comparatively unimportant but still has the power to make or break him.

Michael Honig, former doctor in a London teaching hospital much like that which employs Goldblatt, has created a darkly comic, thought provoking story that centres on a recurring source of news these days: Britain's National Health Service.

In this way Michael is a Richard Gordon for our era. As a race humanity has arguably moved on from the innocent days of the Doctor in the House novels, films and TV series of the 1950s, 60s and 70s and this novel reflects this. Indeed, if it were a film, Stephen Mangan would make a great Goldblatt, the maverick doctor. Interestingly (and scarily) he's not a maverick for laddish reasons like Gordon's creations but because he's on the side of the patient rather than that of career furtherance.

Goldblatt has to navigate/fight the system to ensure beds are filled with the deserving, creating some cleverly constructed moments in the process. We're totally on his side as he's how we'd love our doctors to be: humorous, knowledgeable and compassionate, understanding patients as people rather than numbers and ailments.

At the other end of the caring scale (the zero end) we're introduced to Professor Small, based upon someone whom the author came across, I wonder if her name is a bit of a jibe. The Professor wants to become distinguished in something… anything! Therefore, when offered an opportunity for expertise in a minor syndrome she's not going to say no and, as always, her lackey Dr Burton is in total agreement.

The medical terms that Michael uses are fully explained without the slightest tinge of condescension, making this an ideal novel for those interested in medical machinations at a lay or professional level as well as those who merely want to pull that bed curtains aside for a glimpse behind the scenes. Whichever category you're in, as you enjoy it, feel comforted in the knowledge that it's fiction and couldn't possibly happen in real life. Yeah right!

If you indeed do love a good medical yarn and we also heartily recommend Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.

Buy Goldblatt's Descent by Michael Honig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Goldblatt's Descent by Michael Honig at

Buy Goldblatt's Descent by Michael Honig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Goldblatt's Descent by Michael Honig at


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