Today Mandie is sharing her thoughts on The Waiting Rooms by Eve smith, one of my stand out reads of 2020. I never thought that reading about antibiotic resistant viruses during a pandemic would capture my attention so much but it did and if you want to find out why you can read my review here. Here’s is what the book is about:
About the Book
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.
I have heard so many good things about this book that I have really been looking forward to reading it and now that I have finished it, I am kicking myself for taking so long to pick it up. The Waiting Rooms is told from the perspective of 3 women, Mary, Kate, and Lily. How these women are linked is revealed very slowly but you need their stories to be told to understand the events that take place.
Kate and Lily live in a time where drugs are less effective and in short supply, so a decision has been made that once a person reaches the cut off age of 70 then they are no longer allowed to receive any treatment for infections, so they are sent to specialist hospitals known as “Waiting Rooms”. Kate is a nurse in one of these hospitals and everyday she has todeal with assisting patients and their families accept what is about to happen. She is also trying to find her birth mother, not even sure if she is still alive. Lily has not quite reached the cut off age, but she knows that there will come a time very soon when she will have to accept the inevitable. Until that time she is careful, but she is also hiding a secret. And someone is clearly out to unnerve her. Mary’s story takes place pre pandemic as she works in South Africa trying to find solutions to infections using local plant life. To an extent she is idealistic but at times her emotions rule her actions.
These are all quite different women, but they do have one thing in common, they are very strong willed, and it is this at times that keep them going. You can’t help but feel for Kate as she has to deal with some very harsh moments at work, shealso worries about what kind of life her daughter will have to look forward to with all the restrictions. Things that 20 years ago were taken for granted must be planned meticulously. With Lily you kind of hope that she will be one of the luck ones, one that will get to live their lives to the end without the fear of being refused life saving medication. There is just something about her personality that makes you want to know her. If I am honest, I wasn’t very fond of Mary, as there were times that I thought her actions were a little selfish, and as I read more of the book my gut instinct was spot on.
This is certainly a book that makes you think about everything we have been going through for the last year and it also makesyou realise that whilst things have not been easy, we are luckyand hopefully we will be able to continue to be able to rely on vaccines to reduce infections as the alternative clearly does not bear thinking about. I can’t wait for the next book from Eve Smith as she is certainly an author who knows how to grab her readers attention.
About the Author
Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues. Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis,her debut novel The Waiting
Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.
When she’s not writing she’s romping across fields after her dog, trying to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.
Books by Eve Smith