Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 17, 2020

The first pages of Part III are eerily back on track with our world again, as the narrator gives a sweeping summary of the way things are in the late summer of the plague in Oran. The highest numbers of victims are in the areas with the closest quarters – the less affluent districts, the prison. Revolts start to happen. The narrator spends a while telling us about the grim reality of burials, the details of which are not too different from what we are seeing: victims dying alone, families unable to attend the funeral. And then another chilling and prescient statement, when more “immediate concerns” prevents the town people from fixating on the burials: “Taken up with queuing, pulling strings and filling forms if they wanted to eat, people did not have time to worry about how others were dying around them and how they themselves would one day die. So these material difficulties which seemed like an affliction would eventually be seen to have been a boon.” 

FOR TOMORROW: Read to the end of Part III! And our next zoom call will be Sunday at 2pm – keep your eye on the blog for the zoom link to register!

3 thoughts on “Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 17, 2020

  1. Anne C.

    What a great piece of literary critique. I am really taken with the analogy of translation and transmission and the implication it suggests about how we can learn. Thank you for sharing this.
    I just recently heard this quote, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Yes that was by Albert Camus. Hope for humanity lies within each of us, from what we do with what we learn.


  2. What struck me with a force in this part of the novel was the description of the tram line to the crematorium in beyond Oran’s East gate. My thoughts immediately went to the trains to the death camps where the terminus was the crematorium. Heebeejeebies.


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