The Raven

The Raven

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Love and Fatigue in America
Roger King
Soon after the narrator of this moving autobiographical novel, a teacher from England, arrives in Spokane, he is stricken by an illness that attacks his mind and body in equal measure. He is largely confined to beds and couches, and the smallest tasks become monumental efforts. It turns out that he has chronic fatigue syndrome. Friends and colleagues react with coldness and skepticism. Sympathy comes mainly from “women with deep, secret hurts.” As the disease drives the narrator from city to city, woman to woman, and doctor to doctor, it brings into relief many of America’s follies and excesses, most notably our healthcare system, which King portrays as antiquated, bureaucratic, and inhumane. After more than fifteen years, American brings the narrator “no aspiration realized, nor a largeness of life fitting to its open spaces, but the nascent ability to be satisfied with less.



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