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Paul

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Solipsistic quagmire.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-09-2019

The first half-ish of the book is an essential read for all Australian men. It should give every man pause, every man cause for self reflection on what he has thought about, said to, and done to the women in his life. And all those who are not.

Alas, as the book progresses, it becomes an exhausting slog. Lee’s self absorption, her overwrought and convoluted way of thinking, her unmodulated gush of self pity alloyed with her unbending virtue and chauvanism, all make for a tedious and exasperating listening experience.

For one so wholeheartedly supported by a long suffering lover (one of this story's heroes), two unconditioningly loving parents, a work mentor and wise counsel, along with numerous friends and colleagues, there's not much appreciation or recognition of how blessed Lee is to have this kind of support. And for one who should know better, there is little or no respect for due process or some of the basic principles of our jurisprudence.

Lee's gift is her self understanding and her ability to convey how she feels at every moment. But those feelings, that stream of consciousness, floods the narrative without modulation, without much examination or regard for of any other person in her life. I wonder how dad felt. And her lover? What about mum? We don't really know, apart from the clues we gleen from their dialogue.

For anyone who has unjustly suffered abuse or neglect without any course for redress or the kind of love and moral support Lee has enjoyed, this book will rankle.

Diced sentences.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-09-2019

I found this impossible to listen to. The author reads the text as if there is. A period. Interspersed throughout every sentence. Once I noticed his way of reading. I found I could not. Ignore it. Or concentrate on the actual narrative.

To laugh when you want to cry

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-04-2018

Would you listen to This Is Going to Hurt again? Why?

I will listen to this again, just to enjoy the reader's gorgeous patois and to catch some of the details I missed the first time through.

What was one of the most memorable moments of This Is Going to Hurt?

Always quirky, often surprising, frequently informative and sometimes revelatory; always witty and peppered with the truly funny, and sometimes sheer laugh-out-loud. Yet despite the author’s exquisite repartee and unfailing banter, despite his air of apparent detachment and his inviolable self, there resides a man who feels more than most, who suffers enough for two, who carries the weight of many. To hear Mr Kay tell his tale is like witnessing someone dear to you crack a joke when they’ve just stubbed their toe… it’s so funny but inside you double over with sympathetic pain.

Any additional comments?

This is a profoundly moving book. It makes one laugh and cry, and makes one glad and incandescent with anger. And although the 'lessons' in the book are somewhat specific to the NHS in the UK, the underlying truths are applicable to any country that professes to offer universal health. The NHS - and variants of it like Medicare in Australia - are a gift to their host nations. They must be preserved... actually, fostered, respected, funded and lauded, and above all, protected from the insidious and relentless dismantling by successive governments.

A compelling view into the neurosurgeon's world.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-04-2018

Would you consider the audio edition of When the Air Hits Your Brain to be better than the print version?

I haven not read the printed edition.

What was one of the most memorable moments of When the Air Hits Your Brain?

To get a glimpse into the moral, ethical and emotional struggles the author faces in his moments of failure gives one an insight into what attributes a really good practitioner must possess. It’s not his dexterity of hand, his brilliance in diagnosis or his recall of medical learning or case lore, but rather, his contrapuntal ability to care without caring too much.

What does Kirby Heyborne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I have not read the printed edition. However, Mr Heyborne reads the book with sensitivity and an obvious understanding of the underlying material (not the technical stuff - I mean the author's feelings). I only have one slight reservation about the reading - the attempt at performing various accents. I think if one cannot nail a New York or posh English accent, it’s probably better to leave it to the hearer’s imagination (as it is when one reads a book).

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

In the instances where the outcome is unfavourable, the stories evoke a visceral response which flows in two tributaries from each case narrative: one is the empathy one feels for the doctor with his internal struggles, and the other for the suffering and heartache the patients and their loved ones must endure. Where the outcome is positive, especially when it’s unexpectedly so, it’s hard not to feel a kind on vicarious triumph in the doctor’s achievements.

Any additional comments?

The story is really well paced and has a careful balance between the details of each case and the doctor's travails in learning. I really enjoyed his ontological musings and hearing of the agony one in his profession that surely cannot be avoided.

1 person found this helpful

Beautifully read, refreshingly honest, touchingly humane and always engaging.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-06-2017

Mr Marsh is clearly an extraordinary polymath with his hands, his mind and his heart. I love the way his story telling ranges from one continent to another, from culture to culture, patient to patient, agonising outcomes to miraculous cures, touching generosity to excoriating cringe-fests of past indiscretions and vanities.

It is his humanity, laid bare in heartwarming and surprising juxtaposition to his laudable achievements that makes his story so compelling.

Set next to his humanity is the joy of his insatiable curiosity and lust to create with his hands.... slashing weeds, sharpening the blade of a plane, lifting a steel beam into place with fewer tools than the Egyptians probably had at their disposal, or, planting a forest and building new windows. To feel the enthusiasm in his voice is a delight.

Oh, and I love his fulminating outbursts against The Managers and the regressive left. Love it!

Then, of course, are the all too serious existential issues that he discourses on.... something close to my heart given the instances I've twice been faced with regarding "switching off the machine". Thank you Mr Marsh for your candour and forthrightness.

I only have one beef..... I wish Mr Marsh had read his other book as well (Do No Harm).

Cheers,
Paul

2 people found this helpful

Tedious self absorbtion

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-03-2017

A litany if self absorption and self pity. Shame, it could I'd have been a wonderful account.