Saturday, June 4, 2011
"Of Flesh and Blood", by Daniel Kalla
This powerful new suspense, the 6th novel written by physician Daniel Kalla, is a family saga set in the world of medicine. This multilayered story is told with a physician's point of view and portrayed with all the triumph and heart break of life and death. The author has combined his experiences in the ER with a devastating tale of family secrets, doomed relationships and present day medical disasters. Although not intended as an autobiography, I feel it represents reality in many ways. The setting for this drama is the Alfredson Medical Center, a fictional facility on the outskirts of Seattle.
The novel starts with the background into and the birth of a now 100 + year hospital, the brain child of Dr. Evan McGrath, whose dream was to never refuse a patient in need. The trials and tribulations Dr. McGrath endured to bring his dream to life and the price he paid such as losing the love of his life and the continual friction with the hospital financier, Marshall Alfredson, creates a compelling story.
We follow the story from a dream to a renowned medical center through its financial crisis that threaten its future, its scandals and conflicts, medical disasters that shattered individual lives, cover-ups and the invasion of a super bug, all stories on their own. Through all of this the two families settled their differences one by one and remained faithful to the ultimate dream. We can all see the comparison in this fictional story with what we are living today.
"Of Flesh and Blood" is mostly character driven, a multigenerational story with multiple protagonists most related by blood or association, a family based story where women play an important part in the equation. One character stands out: Dot Alfredson, a spunky and eccentric ninety year old, a collector of erotica memorabilia that loves playing a cat a mouse game with her nice. It is her narrative that skilfully bridges the present to the past in the long family history. This gripping story expertly intertwines romance, history, conflict and ethical dilemmas, Mr. Kalla brings a refreshing style to medical thrillers that I enjoy quite a bit, he is one of my favourite medical novelists.