Saturday, June 20, 2009

Six Months in Sundan

A young doctor in a war-torn village, by James Maskalyk.

Quickie Recap: Dr. James Maskalyk spends 6 months in an isolated hospital working for MSF and the people of the small town Abyei in southern Sudan, practicing the medicine of poverty.

Quickie Review: Delicious, and I'm not just saying that because I probably fell just a tiny bit in love with Dr. James while reading his book. This book is surprisingly introspective and personal. It's not preachy, it's not bloated with a sense of purpose, and both of those things are almost forgivable when a doctor returns from a Doctors Without Borders mission. Instead, what he does is opens an intimate window on what it's really like to be an aid worker in a foreign country, trying to do what's best, and struggling to define what that even means. It's sad at times, as it must be, and the sense of struggle is often so strong that I wish I could climb through the pages and give the poor guy a hug.

Quickie Recommendation: Of course the work of Medecins sans frontieres is commendable, but this book seems to me to be first and foremost a tribute to the Sudanese people. It is not without heartbreak, and I admit that my copy is somewhat tear-stained, but that's because it's a beautifully written treasure. My favourite non-fiction of the year so far.

1 comment:

Josh Urban said...

I was just looking up good books about doctors without borders. It seems like you would really recommend this one, I will go check it out at the bookstore tonight. You make me want to read it!