Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Children's Hospital

I read a fun new McSweeneys novel called The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian. I loved and agreed with the following brief review in V:

When is a hospital not a hospital? When it becomes a post-apocalyptic Noah’s Ark inhabited by stentorian angels, deformed messiahs, and harried, horny nurses. The Children’s Hospital, published by McSweeney’s, is a dark, hilarious novel about “the strange and horrible new world” after God floods the earth with 7 miles of water and the only people remaining are the denizens of a hospital that is somehow left bobbing at sea. The author, Chris Adrian, has a pedigree that includes medical school, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Harvard Divinity School, and he writes about pediatric medicine and theodicy alike with precision and exhaustive detail. “I started writing in high school,” he said in an interview with Ploughshares, “after I realized that I had no talent for painting, and that I had better give that up before I hurt myself or someone else with my sloppy, gruesome studies of malproportioned nude women.” This epic novel is hardly sloppy, but it can be gruesome—just about every theological interlude is interrupted by either a nude woman’s petit mort or her vomit. In the first chapter, apocalypse descends just as the heroine has surreptitious sex with a fellow medical intern; the hospital’s physical unmooring exactly coincides with her own best orgasm ever. After the deluge comes the nation-building, and the novel really gets going when the hospital becomes a Platonic city-state whose citizens must devise their own new laws and social structures—with the inevitable corruption and injustices that follow any good idea.


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