Sunflower's Reviews > Oxygen

Oxygen by Carol Cassella
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Mar 07, 12

bookshelves: fiction-read-2012, usa
Read from March 01 to 07, 2012

This book was clearly written by someone who has practised medicine. Cassella says that it is not autobiographical, but that Marie's thoughts about anaesthesia "closely reflect" her own, and that she has "lifted examples out of her working life" in describing scenes around everyday hospital practice.
She almost had me with the statement "I have forgotten what it was like to be ignorant of the telltale clues that failing internal organs and multiplying infectious organisms surreptitiously display....this second sight has seeped into me the way tea stains dental enamel or cigarettes colour smoker's fingers". A little bit on the flowery side, but amen to that one. And then she had to go and leave enough clues for those of us with medical training to work out the twist (and the twist on the twist)well before the end.
But there was something about Marie that made her unreal- maybe it was the complete lack of cynicism in her working life, the descriptions of what she thought about while the patients were "under", and her overwrought angst at the tragedy that caused the problem. Though if you had ever wondered what your anaesthetist was thinking during your operation, I am sure you would want them to think like she did!
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