Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The beauty in browsing

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 06 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5538
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Sometimes in a bookshop one is gripped by the first few pages of a novel of whose existence one was previously unaware. That is why I should very much regret the passing of bookshops, if it ever happens, as seems quite likely. Web browsing and book browsing are not the same thing at all.

It was in a bookshop that I picked up The Sickness by the Venezuelan author Alberto Barrera Tyszka. First published in Spain in 2006 and winner there of a prestigious literary prize, it seemed to me a small masterpiece.

The protagonist of the novel is Andres Miranda, a doctor who diagnoses his father’s cancer. He agonises over what, if anything, to …

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