A Mistake: A Novel (Paperback)
In medicine, a single mistake in an otherwise spotless career can determine the rest of your life—even if the mistake was not your own
Elizabeth Taylor is a gifted surgeon—the only female consultant at her hospital. But while operating on a young woman with life–threatening blood poisoning, something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of a new scheme to publicly report surgeons' performance, her colleagues begin to close ranks, and Elizabeth's life is thrown into disarray. Tough and abrasive, Elizabeth has survived and succeeded in this most demanding, palpably sexist field. But can she survive a single mistake?
A Mistake is a page–turning procedural thriller about powerful women working in challenging spheres. The novel examines how a survivor who has successfully navigated years of a culture of casual sexism and machismo finds herself suddenly in the fight of her life. When a mistake is life–threatening, who should ultimately be held responsible?
Carl Shuker has produced some of the finest writing on the physicality of medical intervention, where life–changing surgery is detailed moment by moment in a building emergency. A Mistake daringly illustrates the startling mix of the coolly intellectual and deeply personal inherent in the life and work of a surgeon.
About the Author
Carl Shuker is the author of four novels, including The Method Actors, The Lazy Boys, and Anti Lebanon. The Method Actors won the 2006 Prize in Modern Letters. He works for the British Medical Journal, one of the oldest medical journals in the world. He lived in Tokyo and London for many years and now lives in his home country New Zealand with his wife, the novelist Anna Smaill, and their two children.
Praise for A Mistake
“In A Mistake, New Zealand author Carl Shuker conveys in gorgeous, heartbreaking detail the shock of catastrophe and the ways we try to make sense of disaster after the fact . . . A Mistake wastes no time with throat clearing. From its first word we’re in the pivotal, high–stakes scene around which all else in the novel revolves . . . Shuker’s novel is the fascinating and infuriating story of the way various parties interpret and revise what they witnessed, limning events in telling ways. Shuker’s arresting prose renders the inconceivable breathtaking . . . We are reminded of why we turn to narrative in the first place—our need to know what happened and our very human, if misguided, compulsion to fashion the messiness into a discernible, knowable story.” —Maggie Trapp, The Washington Post