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The Children's Hospital Hardcover – 2 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847085784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847085788
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 4.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 993,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Selected by the New Yorker as one of the "20 Under 40," Chris Adrian is the author of Gob's Grief, The Children's Hospital, and A Better Angel. He lives in San Francisco, where he is a Fellow in Paediatric Hematology-Oncology.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Redick on 20 Mar 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like nothing I've ever read. To read this book is to get lost in the madness of the yarn, as one does Dostoevsky or Nabokov, and with much the same mix of joy and frustration. You can laugh as you do at Gilliam's film Brazil, with a hollow feeling in your stomach and a sob in your chest and your mind saturated with ideas.

Despite dealing with the end of the world in a second divine flood and the transformation of a hospital into an ark, its concerns are very real, earthy and dark. Exceptional prose. Overtly American, too: this may not please those for whom the appearance of the occasional pop reference is toxic. For me the latter always has been--until now. Like the best novels almost always do, this one has its deep annoyances. But Adrian's vision redeems everything it touches, up to and including apocalypse. Not to be overlooked.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By beccalikesbooks on 24 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover
A flood of apocalyptic scale destroys the world, leaving only a specially designed children's hospital floating with its cargo of sick children, staff and patients; among them, reluctant student doctor Jemma Claflin. Things soon get weirder as an angel begins talking from the walls, explaining that she is the Preserving Angel, and that the Accusing Angel and Destroying Angel are yet to come. The book is mostly narrated by the fourth, the Recording Angel, who has been watching Jemma all her life.

However, rather than being overly fantastical and unbelievable, for the most part the survivors shrug off the weirdness and get on with the day to day running of the hospital and their new society, as well as testing the limits of the angel's replicating abilities (anything they need can be provided for them out of thin air, leading to the competitive design of the snazziest trainers and most inventive ice cream flavours). As a series of miracles and catastrophes occur, however, the survivors begin to ask, What did we do wrong? and, Why us?. The main themes seem to be sickness and damage - not just medical, but our own unique flaws, and conditions such as grief or unfulfillable longing - and whether we can be cured; can control our destiny.

Although this book is a bit of an epic tome at 624 pages and with an extensive cast of characters, it never feels sprawling or like the narrative is drifting off; the pace is slow but precisely measured, and characters are drawn with damning accuracy. The hospital serves as a microcosm, enabling Chris Adrian's engaging and beautifully crafted writing to be both all-encompassing as well as tightly focused on minute details.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By beccalikesbooks on 24 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback
[Please note this review is originally from the hardback edition]

A flood of apocalyptic scale destroys the world, leaving only a specially designed children's hospital floating with its cargo of sick children, staff and patients; among them, reluctant student doctor Jemma Claflin. Things soon get weirder as an angel begins talking from the walls, explaining that she is the Preserving Angel, and that the Accusing Angel and Destroying Angel are yet to come. The book is mostly narrated by the fourth, the Recording Angel, who has been watching Jemma all her life.

However, rather than being overly fantastical and unbelievable, for the most part the survivors shrug off the weirdness and get on with the day to day running of the hospital and their new society, as well as testing the limits of the angel's replicating abilities (anything they need can be provided for them out of thin air, leading to the competitive design of the snazziest trainers and most inventive ice cream flavours). As a series of miracles and catastrophes occur, however, the survivors begin to ask, What did we do wrong? and, Why us?. The main themes seem to be sickness and damage - not just medical, but our own unique flaws, and conditions such as grief or unfulfillable longing - and whether we can be cured; can control our destiny.

Although this book is a bit of an epic tome at 624 pages and with an extensive cast of characters, it never feels sprawling or like the narrative is drifting off; the pace is slow but precisely measured, and characters are drawn with damning accuracy. The hospital serves as a microcosm, enabling Chris Adrian's engaging and beautifully crafted writing to be both all-encompassing as well as tightly focused on minute details.
Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Late night reader on 17 Mar 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book from a charity shop knowing nothing about it (it had no blurb) but quite liking the cover. And boy was it an unexpected read. It was both one of the most engrossing and surprising books I have read in years, I was thoroughly enthralled and it certainly runs you through the gammit of emotions. I cried a little at one point, and this is only the second time I've ever cried reading a book. Parts are certainly bleaker than anything I've ever read and surprising as most books are fairly formulaic and give you a happy ending regardless. I feel since I am completely ignorant of theology, I may have missed some glaring references, but I could still follow it. Not sure if the medical jargon wouldn't end up being quite frustrating if you are non-medical though- as a medical student I followed it fine but some of it is quite obscure. All in all, worth reading if you feel you are up for the emotional ride! Not for the faint-hearted.
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