#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2020
My day five #bookvent pick is one that may seem a little odd to be appearing on a top reads list given the subject matter and the nature of the year that we have all just led. Would you dare to read a medical thriller of sorts in which the not so future world has been irrevocably changed by viruses and in which it becomes a matter of law at which point medical intervention is no longer an option to prolong life? A little too believable, and not always a comfortable read but one which is overwhelmingly relevant. But this is so much more than a virus novel too, and it’s one I am very glad that I read. My fifth choice is …
The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.
Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.
Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.
So yes. This is a story about drug a resistant virus that has devastated a world that became over reliant on antibiotics. Not so far fetched a concept, with or without our new pet hate, Covid-19. But as much as this is a book about how society has to live with the virus and the impacts of potential infection outbreaks, it is so much more than that. Yes, it can be uncomfortably close to home, and I read this during lockdown number one so it was especially pertinent. If you have been personally affected by the pandemic, it may be one you need to think long and hard about reading. But this is also a story about family, affairs, and choices made. It’s about corruption and about greed. Okay – I’ll add that if you are of an overly paranoid or squeamish disposition you may also not want to read the book until we know about the real efficacy of the proposed vaccinations too. But you’d be missing a real treat. This book has a mystery at its heart, and is full of tension and drama as well as all the emotional aspects of the threat that any simple infection, even a small cut to a finger, may pose to your life. It really is quite plausible and this past year has shown what an absolute difference this kind of situation can make to our lives no matter how cleanly and carefully we feel we live. Told from the perspective of three women, this is a truly thought provoking read, full of suspense, and had me thinking about the story and the implications of it long after the last page was turned.
You can read my full review here.
Happy #bookvent reading all