Narrative Medicine Book Club: March 31st, 2020

For today, Tuesday March 31st, we read up to: “He was now complaining of internal pains.”

The ominousness is building in today’s pages. I thought the above quote was so powerful for how it shows the way Rieux’s consciousness is changing in the face of the threat; the rats become the symbol of the fear, the sense of what’s on the horizon. Also so interesting the way that class is already playing in here — “some families who had seaside homes were already talking about escaping to them,” and the civil servant who says “‘I have other concerns.'” Struck too by Infodoc, “the agency for information and documentation,” and the fact that when the numbers are shared, it gives “a clear meaning to the daily spectacle that everyone had in front of their eyes” — that disconnect between statistics and lived reality, and how it can be one or the other of these things that brings a truth home to us. (And dare we point to the way the authorities are handling things? “The authorities had not considered or planned anything at all, but started by holding a council meeting to discuss it.” Sounds familiar…) — Nellie.

Please feel free to add to the discussion and join in with Nellie below, or on any of your social media channels using #NMBookClub and #CamusThePlague!

FOR TOMORROW: read the next 7 pages, up to “‘Let me know if you have any other cases,’ said Rieux.”

One thought on “Narrative Medicine Book Club: March 31st, 2020

  1. Anne C.

    I was intrigued by the fact that Dr. R went to “treat” the friend of a patient in a poor part of town, who it turns out has tried to commit suicide. He equivocates about reporting it and is distracted by the need to attend to the concierge, who as it turns out is really dying from the as yet unidentified disease. Dr. R seems to be “triaging” which patient should come first in a normal fashion. This I feel may be his last normal/rational decision as to patient care. After this I anticipate seeing the bodies piling up just as the rats piled up with no end in sight.


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