Fiction Pick of the Week: "North Country, Early Morning"
Lost love and a robbery.
Lost love and a robbery.
David Hosack attends to a mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton.
"Hosack felt a hitching panic build, his instincts wound too tightly, overtaxed, a clockwork spring about to snap. Only Hamilton could do this to him. The frame prone before him was frail, narrow, woman-small. His coat, waistcoat, shirt, underclothes sopping him up, holding him together. Delicate embroidery sodden, delicate fingers cold with the loss of blood. Hosack had seen this man’s blood before, and the blood and vomit and delirious fever-dreams of his wife, his children. But this was—Hosack sickened, the scene before him tilting. Three years before—Hamilton’s son, Phillip, bleeding out after his own duel on the same Weehawken site. Their faces so alike, their mangled bodies. Their right sides."
A convergence of sex, fears, and family drama.
"Beside the bed the baby monitor flashed, as it had been doing all night, a blue light racing up and down to accompany the sounds: breathing, snoring, faint clicking, the mewl of one or another of the cats. If Angela held it to her ear she would also hear the ticking of the mantel clock. These new monitors! So much more sophisticated than those of yore. Nineteen years ago, when last she’d tuned into one, the monitor would occasionally pick up the cell phone call of some stranger in a passing car, some weird adult voice suddenly blaring from the baby’s room."
An Iraq War veteran, now a paramedic, runs into trouble.
"I rewarded the man with another hit of naloxone, which made him even more alive, even less happy. Karen was busy with the gear, and I thought for sure that the coast was clear. It wasn’t. As soon as I put the note in my pocket, I saw the boy. He stood in the doorway, watching me with a basically impassive expression. He chewed his gum. He blew a splendid bubble."
On medical crises and Doctor Who.
"When Doctor Who dies, he regenerates into a new physical form. I’ve heard good things about Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, and Peter Capaldi, the twelveth, but I’m not ready to let go of Number Ten. I’m not done traveling with him. We haven’t watched the second half of the last episode; I’m just not ready despite the possibilities. The doctor is dying, but he’ll become Matt Smith. Could be good, could be annoying. I choose to linger in the in-between."
Opening up about medical mistakes.
Romantic complications between a surgical coordinator and a brilliant transplant specialist.
"I hadn’t wanted Clara at first, at least no more than any other woman I’d casually slept with. Too bony, too neurotic. Too pale. But when she asked for a ride home from the dinner party where we met, I drove, intrigued at the prospect of UCSF’s top heart-transplant surgeon debasing herself with a med school dropout-turned-cellist."
In the bayou south of New Orleans, a program called the Nurse-Family Partnership tries to reverse the life chances for babies born into extreme poverty. Sometimes, it actually succeeds.
A woman claims the ability to detect illnesses by taste.
"If Libby had claimed divine intervention, Celia would have been dubious, but Libby sounded completely rational, like a scientist investigating a rare but naturally occurring phenomenon."