Night Duty by Melitta Breznik

Night Duty

Melitta Breznik

I found the very bleakness of this tale quite riveting. It is the story of a young physician whose current life is spent examining the dead and caring for the dying. At the same time she reflects on her childhood and her conflicting love for her self-destructive father. If there is a positive note in this tale it is one of enduring compassion.


In the next half hour, the man with the bluish discolouration in room twenty-five will die, he has already been moved to the ward storeroom, his wife is leaving as he gasps for air and his face turns a deeper and deeper shade of violet. Rats always leave a sinking ship, we are no longer used to being there when someone dies. I stay, his death doesn't really mean anything to me.

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