In 2015 I published an article in the Columbia Medical Review outlining one of the most horrifying cases of hospital-induced malnutrition leading to death. You can read that article here: https://medicalreview.columbia.edu/article/leroy/.
Years later, malnutrition in hospitalized patients persists. See the following link: https://www.newsdeeply.com/malnutrition/articles/2018/04/04/malnourished-patients-fall-through-the-cracks-in-americas-hospitals
Is your loved-one the next victim?
The Remains of the Day (Vintage International, 1993) is by Kazuo Ishiguro, the author of eight novels who won the 2017 Nobel in Literature. I first read this book twenty plus years ago. Re-reading it, I was struck by the original story line and by the choice of words. It is a deeply moving portrait of an English butler, and his fading, insular world, following WWII. Prior to the war, he was the butler to a “great gentleman” at Darlington Hall. After its acquisition by a young American Congressman, he embarks on a search to find a former housekeeper, whose help he needs for the service of his new master. During the drive, he reflects over his career, reassuring himself of the benefit to his former master, and of his lingering faith in the man he once served.
Morenga (Uwe Timm, New Direction Books, 1978) is set in German West South Africa in the first decade of the twentieth century. This historical novel recounts the conflict between the colonial German Empire, and the rebellious Hottentot and Herero tribes, led by the legendary Morenga—the daring and brilliant military tactician, and freedom fighter. It’s an ingenious mix of fact and fiction. Morenga is an intriguing novel I enjoyed re-reading.
José Saramago is one of my favorite foreign writers. His vivid writing style, and long sentences which meander sometimes the full length of a paragraph, allow the reader to savor the words and the cadences of the language—poetic prose. In The Stone Raft (English translation 1995, Harcourt Inc., Harvest Books 1996) he transports the reader to the human plight of isolation when the Iberian Peninsula breaks off and floats into the Atlantic, cutting all geographic, historic, cultural, spiritual, and familial connections to Europe. An analogy would be a surgeon with his team, insulated in the operating room, cut off from the distractions of outside world.
Kahlil Gibran—Man and Poet, A New Biography by Suheil Bushrui and Joe Jenkins (One World, 2005) Gibran, noted for his poetic masterpiece, The Prophet, wrote over twenty literary works in both English and Arabic. This new biography penetrates the heart of Gibran’s brilliance, charting his colorful life, his dramatic love affairs, and his artistic achievements, portraying a remarkable man. An inspiring read.
Given the situation in the Middle East and other war-torn areas, East West Street, by Philippe Sands (Knopf) is poignant. It is an account of the origins of crimes against humanity and genocide. It is a well-written book, which I highly recommend because it relates the personal and intellectual evolution of two men, Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht, who simultaneously originated the ideas of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity.” They did not know each other, yet studied at the same university with the same professors in a city little known today that was a major cultural center of Europe. “The little Paris of Ukraine,” was variously called Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, or Lviv.
“The little town lies in the middle of a great plain…It begins with little huts and ends with them. After a while, the huts are replaced by houses. Streets begin. One runs from north to south, the other from east to west.”
Joseph Roth – The Wandering Jews, 1927
“What haunts are not the dead, but the gaps left within us by the secrets of others.”
Nicholas Abraham – Notes on the Phantom, 1975