Book review: The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut (South Africa)

Imogen is Reading and Watching the World: On Books, Film, Art & More

I read my first novel by Damon Galgut last year, his Booker-winning The Promise (which I loved, and reviewed here). I just finished reading an earlier book, The Good Doctor, published in 2003. This was another excellent, psychologically astute novel, although it is missing the black humour that made The Promise a standout of 2021 for me.

The book is written from the first-person perspective of Frank, a doctor from a privileged background, in early middle age. Pragmatic, or simply disillusioned, he works under Dr Ngema in a small, dilapidated hospital in the South African homelands, which an author’s note states “were impoverished and underdeveloped areas of land set aside by the apartheid government for the ‘self-determination’ of its various black ‘nations'”. Dr Ngema is well-meaning and has her own ambitions, but her insecurities about her position, as a black woman hospital director in a country that has…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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