As dusk approaches, a former surgeon goes about closing up his dilapidated clinic in rural India. His day, like all his days, has been long and hard. His medical supplies arrive late if at all, the electrics in the clinic threaten to burn out at any minute, and his overseer, a corrupt government official, blackmails and extorts him.
It is thankless work, but the surgeon has long given up any hope of reward in this life. That night, as the surgeon completes his paperwork, he is visited by a family – a teacher, his heavily pregnant wife and their young son.
Victims of a senseless attack, they reveal to the surgeon wounds that they could not possibly have survived. And so the surgeon finds himself faced with a preposterous task: to mend the wounds of the dead family before sunrise so that they may return to life. But this is not the only challenge laid before the surgeon, and as the night unfolds he realises his future is tied more closely to that of the dead family than he could have imagined. At once dustily realist and magically unreal, Night Theatre is a powerful fable about the miracles we ask of doctors, and the fine line they negotiate between life and death.
”The day the dead visited the surgeon, the air in his clinic was laced with formaldehyde. His pharmacist had poured some into a beaker in the operating room and given it a night to scour every corner.”
The surgeon, Doctor Saheb, is a general Doctor in a small rural village in India. The surgery struggles for supplies but he does his absolute best for his patients.
He often uses his own money to pay for supplies which have have disappeared, taken by the corrupt and only returned on payment of a fee.
One night he is visited by a family, a man, his pregnant wife and their son, they have terrible wounds, but no bleeding as they are already dead.
Their story is incredible and their need for help obvious and so urgent. The surgeon spends many hours trying to mend these broken people and he listens to tale of an angel and hope.
This feels like a supernatural gothic ghost tale, but its not really as its so down to earth with the descriptions of surgery and the wounds, but then has the dead, walking and talking.
However, the family and their wounds are not all that they seem, but I won’t say anymore as I wouldn’t want to spoil this wonderfully odd tale.
This is a cleverly written book with a lot of surgery details that are not for the squeamish, I think it shows the pressures doctors and surgeons are under and how we expect miracles of them every day. A thought provoking read…
I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review