Histories by Sam Guglani

It reminds him of school, the sun coming in like this, low through windows, lighting the corridor.

– Opening sentence

Histories is a collection of interlinked stories set in a modern-day hospital. Each short story is a window into the mind of those who we trust to look after us in our times of need; not just doctors and nurses, but all the other medical professionals including physicians, porters and more.

The author, Guglani, brings these characters to life in an intimate and poetic prose, revealing what it really feels like to work in an environment of illness and death.

Guglani is a doctor himself with 20 years’ experience, adding a layer of authority to his collection. Although Histories is a work of fiction, Guglani draws on his insight and experience as Consultant Oncologist.

I know that I, along with countless others, often take the work of healthcare professionals for granted. I trust in them to know what they are doing and to fix me when I’m broken. But more than that, I trust that they care. Not about me, per-say, but certainly about people.

And that’s very much the core theme explored within Histories, as Guglani explains:

“Medicine gifts us such reach in treating illness and prolonging life, but important questions remain – about what we ought to do, about the right thing to do. Rational thought is of course vital in answering these but they are also fundamentally questions of meaning – about what we value and believe, and about how we articulate this.”

Histories sheds a light on the daily challenges and questions faced by overworked and underpaid doctors. We all read about the pressures of NHS staff. Just today, I came across this article about nurses seeking over-time on top of their 12 hours shifts just to keep up with living costs.

This short book serves as a powerful reminder to us all that doctors and nurses are ordinary people, just like us. They share the same flaws and fears, but are expected to regularly confront the issue of  mortality head on, and know what to do.

Do any of us, really, know what to do?

Come give us a kiss.

– Final sentence

4 Stars (4 / 5)

2 Comments

    • Louise Dickens Reply

      Oooh you’ll have to let me know what you think!

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