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Inside the Bone Box

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Top neurosurgeon Nicholas Anderton is morbidly obese.

He doesn’t mind the sweats, the sleep apnoea, or the fact that he can no longer see certain parts of his anatomy. Even the sniggers that come from his registrars, behind what they think are closed doors, won’t make him change. He is also inured to his wife’s scorn as their marriage slowly disintegrates.

But when mistakes
Paperback, 172 pages
Published July 11th 2018 by Fairlight Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘He walked slowly; any kind of exercise seemed a form of expiation.’

Nicholas Anderton is a consultant neurosurgeon. He is morbidly obese and although he’s largely been able to ignore the impact of his obesity on his marriage, he can’t ignore the limitations it’s starting to impose on his professional life.

‘Operating was now the only thing, other than eating, that gave him a sense of purpose and identity, and if he continued to gain weight, he’d sooner or later be unable to continue.’

Nicholas is
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Went to the book launch of this and four other titles for a new imprint (Fairlight Moderns) in London. Anthony is a friend and fellow member of my writers' group, and I have read parts of this in meetings. Looking forward to reading the whole thing.

4.5 stars - the story of an obese neurosurgeon, Anderton, and his lawyer wife is told in meticulous detail and with a gourmet's relish. It starts with a strange incident of a kite surfer dressed as Captain America crashing through the windows of a con
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, fiction, netgalley
This was my third novella from Fairlight Moderns, who granted me a reader's copy.

At least one star for that title, right?? The primary protagonist, Nicholas Anderton, is a brain surgeon and likes to explain that "the skull is like a bone box, with the brain trapped inside."

He and his wife Alyson, however, are each trapped inside their own heads with stress and some amount of grief and terrible events in their family's lives. She turns to alcohol, he turns to food, and neither of them turn to on
Barbara McEwen
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.5 stars - I enjoyed this book for the writing, especially the little medical bits, and for the characters. I was put off by what felt was some pretty serious exageration of what it is like to be as obese as the main character. While the main character and his wife's feelings about his obesity are fairly believable, I can't help wonder if the author is perpetuating some harmful ideas about obesity and whether he truly believes something like weight loss surgery would solve all a persons problem ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Damaged people who come to a tidy ending. A readable story but it lacked punch.
Kate Vane
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nicholas Anderton is a successful neurosurgeon, married to a lawyer, with two adult children. But he is also grappling with obesity after a series of crises in his personal and professional life. Now, his weight is threatening his ability to do his job. His wife, Alyson, is not inclined to be supportive and is dealing with issues of her own.

Nicholas is a complex and contradictory character. He is an accomplished neurosurgeon but has little time for philosophical discussions on the nature of the
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am really enjoying these thoughtfully curated, and rather unusual, Fairlight Books novellas. I did not remind myself of the synopsis of this one before I began to read, and was rather surprised at times by the multilayered story which awaited me. Here, Ferner presents an intimate portrait of a husband and wife, and the ways in which their relationship has shifted since the beginning of their marriage. I found Inside the Bone Box incredibly well written, and wholly absorbing.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was a quick and well-written novella. It is the story of a neurosurgeon whose marriage is falling apart. His wife turns to alcohol, while he uses food to soothe his emotional pain. The changes these activities cause in their behavior in turn wreak more damage to their relationship, in a sad downward spiral. His continued weight gain eventually causes him to have trouble performing his job, and he has to stop.

Unfortunately this book was not one of my favorites. As mentioned earlier, I thoug
The Idle Woman
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
In this day and age, with independent bookshops and small publishers closing in swathes, it’s a joy to hear of a newly-founded enterprise: Fairlight Books in Oxford. At one year old, they’re just about to release a series of five novellas in their Fairlight Moderns series and I was delighted to have a sneak peek. I decided to start with Inside the Bone Box, because it focused on a doctor and that appealed in the wake of Adam Kay’s diaries. It’s the story of consultant neurosurgeon Nicholas Ander ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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The Anderton's are two professionals that society tends to look up to, a doctor and a lawyer. However, in this story, the doctor is morbidly obese, and the lawyer is an alcoholic. INSIDE THE BONE BOX is a unique novella describing the most private and painful aspects of Nicholas and Alyson Anderton's lives.

The apparent issue is Nicholas's morbid obesity. He is a surgeon who needs to be clear-headed and physically active to perfor
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Nicholas Anderton is a neurosurgeon whose weight is becoming a threat to both his job and his marriage, this novella follows Nick as he reaches the pivotal moment of his professional capacity being questioned. Each chapter alternates between the perspectives of Nick and that of his wife Alyson; and are either a continuation of the present or a flashback to an earlier point in their career or marriage which gives you a great picture of how the couple have got to where they are; one of my favourit ...more
Garrie Fletcher
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Douglas Adamson
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great little book just published by Fairlight moderns. A well observed, researched and written narrative of a brilliant but angst-ridden neurosurgeon who eats to blot out past failures resulting in destroying his marriage while endangering a hard-won professional reputation. The surgeon's relationship with his own children comes under close scrutiny revealing his arrogance, obsessional medical rivalries and a myopic lack of self-awareness on family matters. ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 🌟 This is a great little debut novella. For me personally, I just found it a little dry and the characters were all vile. The story itself, although original felt forced and somewhat unreal at times. The last few scenes made up for some of the droll storyline and I loved the title ‘Inside the Bone Box’.
Sophie van Llewyn
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The beautiful writing pulled me right into this book. I loved how the story unfolded, each thread carefully unraveled. The characters had true psychological depth, and the relationships between them so life-like. The medical bits were wonderfully researched and accurate, while the technical detail wasn't overbearing.
An excellent read, overall.
Wickovski Steve
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book.. the reader is placed in a sublime space in relation to the main character, a neurosurgeon. Nicholas Anderson is (not) battling weight problems whilst his highly strung wife has turned to the drink. They move along mundanely enough and Ferner’s observation (and ours) is exquisite. Funny and with a nice level of the everyday surreal...

Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Not sure what to make of this one. I'd been enjoying the Fairlight Moderns so far but this was difficult to get through, despite moments of poignancy. Perhaps they were a little few and far between; or perhaps the subject matter was just not something I particularly was looking to read about.

Not a keeper.
Elijah Farrow
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderful to read, especially for someone interested in matters of humanity, the brain or love. Love comes in innumerable forms: food, sex, family, etc. Ferner shows this well.
Christoph Weber
Mar 05, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
"contemporary fiction"... does nothing for me. ...more
Clare O'Dea
Jul 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Original and compelling. Fascinating descriptions of neurosurgery, remarkable protagonist.
Emma  Heyn
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reading
Excellent short book exploring all the usual themes of humanity - self image, love, alcoholism... what sets this book apart is its ability to turn a deft hand of convention, and make familiar themes interesting again through both its wit, and powerful prose.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review"
4.5 stars
This book is different from anything I’ve read recently and I loved it. I adored the whole world the author created around the hero being a neurosurgeon, how operating patients’ brains is so much part of himself and so much ingrained in himself that his actions and how he sees life and the world are completely contaminated by his craft.
Nicholas Anderton, an almost fifty-year-old British doctor, is not your typical hero. He c
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