Histories by Sam Guglani


Sam Guglani

I found this a moving, insightful account of the emotional merry-go-round that is a hospital. Not at all like a romantic hospital-series but authentic voices describing a hectic week in a modern facility. A doctor treating his former school bully, the mistreated cleaner, an Indian student with a dying father: they all have a story to tell. The language fits each character, not really surprising because the author himself is a doctor and poet.


And now, two years a consultant, she feels no better at it at all. If anything she's less steady, more easily knocked about. It's as though all her other patients, all their shouldered but invisible histories, weigh upon and unbalance her, toppling successive encounters so that the day unravels sometimes like a trail of falling dominoes.
Look, Mr Chamberlain's saying, we're no wiser here, your recommendations and so on. He taps his pencil at the pad, ticks off points as they come up. He's a big man, his knees and legs pushed firmly out into the room. His wife, Emily's patient, just sits and stares, all the while sipping her tea, the clink of cup and saucer loud in this tiny space.
When had patients started bringing in tea? She remembers as a student how consultants would be brought coffee and biscuits, sometimes even in the middle of a consultation. No one, least of all the patients, would blink an eye back then.
Unthinkable now, of course. But instead here are the Chamberlains, wielding their cups and pencils and angry eyes.

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sachs
  • Inside Birmingham Children's Hospital - TV documentary
  • As I Live and Breathe, Notes From a Patient-doctor by Jamie Weisman

Books with similar mood


Gordon Reece

Walk the Blue Fields

Claire Keegan

Dear Child

Romy Hausmann

The Man I Became

Peter Verhelst

Monsieur Linh and His Child

Philippe Claudel


Mischa Berlinski

Wales Half Welsh

John Williams (ed)

Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Sara Baume

No One Writes Back

Jang Eun-Jin

Hide and Seek

Clare Sambrook

A Girl Returned

Donatella Di Pietrantonio

The Visiting Angel

Paul Wilson

The Repentant Morning

Chris Paling

So Lucky

Nicola Griffith


Mick Kitson

The Orange Grove

Larry Tremblay

Underground Time

Delphine de Vigan


Tom Lee

Double Vision

Pat Barker

Walkin' the Dog

Walter Mosley

The Island

R J Price

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The Taliban Cricket Club

Timeri N Murari

The Resurrectionist

James Bradley

Three Day Road

Joseph Boyden


Cynan Jones

Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband

Natalie Young

America Pacifica

Anna North

A Perfect Arrangement

Suzanne Berne

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Alice Munro

One Way

S. J. Morden

The Hired Man

Aminatta Forna

Cities without Palms

Tarek Eltayeb

The Mayor's Tongue

Nathaniel Rich

The Second Sleep

Robert Harris

The Melody

Jim Crace


Jane Rusbridge

The Godless Boys

Naomi Wood

I Do Not Come to You By Chance

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani


Nicolas Dickner

From a Low and Quiet Sea

Donal Ryan


Judith Hermann

The Scream

Laurent Graff

Turn of Mind

Alice LaPlante


Richard Bausch


Rana Dasgupta

Night Work

Thomas Glavinic

The Little Girl and the Cigarette

Benoit Duteurtre